• Orla Grant
  • 4 min read

Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre, based in Clondalkin, Dublin, were awarded funding of almost €23,000 under the 2020 Community Energy Grant Scheme.

Pictured at the launch of SEAI’s Community Energy Grant Scheme for 2021 were (l-r): Dr. Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit at SEAI; Marianne Ward-O’Leary Maughan, chairperson of the Local Co-operative Committee and actively involved in the Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre; and Minister for The Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.

The funding was used to install cavity wall and attic insulation, as well as extensive upgrades to windows, doors and lighting. The substantial works also included a heat pump upgrade. The total cost of the project was just under €46,000.

Change in the community

The Centre has been active for more than 25 years and has hosted homework clubs and community events as well as running a local lotto for local residents, according to Marianne Ward-O’Leary Maughan. She is chairperson of the Local Co-operative Committee and is actively involved in the Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre.

While there were previous committees who ran the centre, the formation of the Kilcronan Court and Place Committee put the management of the centre on a sounder and more formal footing, explains Marianne. “We were supported by local representatives whom residents reached out to, to learn how to successfully run a committee. These reps gave support and advised the residents of the legalities of setting up a committee.”

Marianne explains that the energy upgrades were long awaited: “The local co-operative committee had been advocating for much needed energy upgrade works to be carried out on the estate and the centre; we were delighted that Kilcronan was selected as part of the SEAI Community grant scheme. When the works were being carried out the committee linked in with the contractor and supported members on the estate to make it all go as smoothly as possible.”

The results

Marianne and her fellow residents are delighted with the results: “The Communities programme has given the Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre a new lease of life. With the heating system upgrade we will now be able to use it throughout the winter. The centre is the heart of the community, it’s a great amenity and we will all benefit from the upgrade.”

The committee is also planning to set up a new homework club for the kids. “We’re delighted now with the upgrades that the building will be a warm space for children to visit once restrictions ease. We applied for funding to have a proper kitchen and cooking facilities installed so we can prepare and store food for a local soup run and for future events. It really is a well-used facility here in Kilcronan.”

“Our thanks to the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications and SEAI for the grant which covered 50% of the costs, and Co-operative Housing Ireland who provided 41.5% with the remainder from SSE Airtricity.”

Return to normal

Marianne says that having the centre as a base for community activities has been wonderful. “We’re looking forward to getting members back into the space, especially with the improvements that have been made. As a committee we have the great support of residents. Everyone loves what we’ve done. It takes up a lot of our time, but if we weren’t dedicated, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. When lockdown measures are eased, we’ll be able to host more activities for residents.  We’re hoping to run cooking classes next year once we have the kitchen finished.”

Community Energy Grant Scheme

Under the SEAI Community Energy Grant Scheme, communities bring together groups of buildings under the same retrofit programme to facilitate community-wide energy improvements – more efficiently and more cost effectively than might otherwise be possible. All projects applying for funding are required to include a community benefit to the project and to include a cross-sectoral approach.

Funding is provided for a range of improvements to existing buildings to drive energy efficiency and facilitate the installation of renewable technologies. These include the installation of insulation, heat pump systems, replacement windows/doors, solar PV (Photo-Voltaic) technology, energy-efficient lighting, and energy monitors, as well as a host of other energy upgrades.

Learn more about community grants