Hazelwood Tennis Club is the last remaining sporting club operating in Hazelwood, Newtwopothouse in Mallow, Co. Cork. Thanks to the Castlepook Community Benefit Fund, it has been able to upgrade its club and accommodate new members.

About the Project

Hazelwood is a small community tennis club located in Newtwopothouse, Mallow, County Cork. It’s an open sporting club, loved by locals, with 50% of its membership made up of families living in the surrounding area.  

Over the years, other local amenities in Hazelwood including shops, the post office and the local pub have all had to close while other local sporting organisations have merged with organisations in Mallow town and Doneraile to stay open. But the tennis club has continued to grow its members and remain open.  

Castlepook Wind Farm is a 33.1MW onshore wind power project located in Cork. The project, commissioned in March 2018, generates 100,000MWh electricity and supplies enough clean energy to power 17,000 households. The Castlepook Community Benefit Fund provides support to community and voluntary organisations for projects which benefit communities located in close proximity to the wind farm.  

Hazelwood Tennis Club is one of the beneficiaries of this fund!  

The club was allocated a number of grants since 2018 for improvement works to the club. This was administered through SECAD Partnership (South East Cork Area Development), enabling the club to carry out much needed upgrades. The first of the three grant instalments was received in 2019. 

Upgrades carried out included: 

  • Replacing existing light bulbs with LED bulbs. LEDs are more cost effective and environmentally friendly
  • Upgrading spectator seating and adding a new seating area with recycled materials
  • In 2020 the club applied for a capital grant to resurface 'Court 2'. This was a big undertaking and the grant for this upgrade was spread out over the three years

The total cost of the project came to €22,500, with €16,500 covered by the Castlepook Community Benefit Fund.  

Hazelwood covered the remaining balance of €6,000.  

To ensure the full cost of the project was available from the start, Hazelwood Tennis Club reached out to Clann Credo – Community Loan Finance. They provided the €16,500 as a loan payment available up front as ‘bridging finance’ so the upgrades could be carried out. This loan was then repaid through the Community Benefit Fund grant funding, through SECAD. 

Under this system, Hazelwood Tennis Club only had to pay the interest on the €16,500 figure over the three year period, in addition to the €6,000 they invested directly. 

The club was approved for funding of a further €4,000 in 2023 for lighting for ‘Court 2’. The total cost of this project is circa €22,000 which will be funded through a loan from Clann Credo, the Community Benefit Fund, an amenity grant from Cork County Council and more than €10,000 from the club's own funds and fundraising activities.

Hazelwood Tennis Club tennis courts

Community Benefits and Project Outcomes

The upgrades to Hazelwood tennis club enabled the team to bring the facilities up to a very high standard of service. This of course helps with getting new members and keeping existing club members very happy. The new tennis court surface makes a previously unplayable court, playable again! Not to mention doubling the capacity. It has also enabled the club to provide a new coaching scheme for children with learning difficulties and autism. 

The next stage of the development plan is to install LED lights on Court 2 so members can play in the darker evenings throughout winter.  There are also plans to build a club house which will act as a community hub for the locality. This is part of the long-term development plan for the club, with aspirations to apply for a sports capital grant in 2025 to help finance the club house, in addition to further funding from the Community Benefit Fund. 

“The lesson for us (at Hazelwood) is to be ambitious for our little club and to try to make it as usable and accessible to as many people as possible in our locality.”
Niamh Kenny, Chairperson, Hazelwood Tennis Club

This is one great example of how a large Renewable Electricity Project in the local area can ‘give back’ and support the local community. 

SEAI have recently launched the ‘Community Benefit Register’. Communities can use this Register to view RESS energy generators and Community Benefit Funds in Ireland. Users will be able to filter by location and find information on how / where to apply to their local Community Benefit Fund.