Lottery grants help local groups to make heat savings

A LOCAL theatrical group is planning to cut down the amount of heating and lighting it uses, thanks to a Big Lottery funding boost of more than £40,000.

Craic Community Recreational Arts in Coalisland hopes the savings will allow them to further improve the range of music and drama activities it currently provides.

Management committee member, Brian Duffin, explained how the grant of £44,919 will help the group.

“CRAIC was founded in 1992 and we have occupied our present building for the past nine years,” said Brian.

“We run a vibrant busy centre that is open seven days a week. But we have always had difficulty controlling the temperature of the building.

“It was either too hot or too cold. Insulation is inadequate or non-existent, and everything, including the lighting, was originally installed by volunteers on a very limited budget.

“We are going to install a new heating system, draught proofing and lighting and build a porch at the entrance to the building, part of which was once an old weaving factory and dates back more than 100 years.”

He continued: “At the moment, without a porch, when people arrive to see a play or a performance they walk straight in and the heat goes straight out.

“The new porch will be a windbreak and insulation for the public and will also keep the heat in. This is a great group and these improvements will help us make things even better for everyone involved.”

Meanwhile, Aghaloo GFC, has also been successful in the latest round of lottery funding, after being awarded £31,790 to carry out a number of improvements that will make their club’s hall more comfortable for local people.

Club secretary, Connor McCarron, explained that the improvements will also help reduce the club’s energy bills, saving them money that will go back into running a range of events and activities for the local community to enjoy.

“The hall was built in the 1980s and is used by the local community for sporting, social and education activities,” said Connor.

It is currently used by all the club’s teams ranging from under eights to seniors and ladies. The floodlights mean that the hall is used nearly every night of the year, whatever the weather. It is also a venue for Irish language classes and a dance class.

“We will use the grant to insulate and draught proof the building, install zoned heating and water heating, replace existing lighting and fit new external doors.

“The overall aim is to make the hall more energy efficient, to cut down on bills and make it more attractive to the local community. We would like to hold more community type events and by making the place warmer and easier to heat we hope to do that.”

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “The Energy Efficient Venues programme supports community organisations to carry out energy efficiency improvements to their venues that help them make savings during this difficult period of recession, and have a positive effect on the environment. “This has been a very popular programme and we have awarded grants to a range of organisations across Northern Ireland. Organisations should be aware that the programme is now closed for applications.”

To find about more about the programme visit