THE New Year brought good news for community and voluntary groups in almost every town, parish and village in Laois, when it was announced that funding will be provided to enhance local facilities.
Eighty-five separate community-based groups shared a total of €136,524 from the government-funded Community Enhancement Programme, which is administered by Laois County Council through the Local Community Development Committees.
The programme provides grant aid to groups, which will enhance facilities in disadvantaged communities. It supports a range of activities such as childcare groups, playgrounds, recreational groups, sports grounds and landscaping as well as supporting the elderly.
Groups to benefit included Errill Snooker Club, which received €538 for a new table tennis table, bats and balls; the Social Services in Borris-in-Ossory received €770 to buy two new washing machines; Laois Cricket Club, which is also based in Borris-in-Ossory, received €960 for the installation of spectator seating and benches; €1,000 for upgrading the altar at Graigue Cemetery in Mountmellick; Ballyfin Bridge Club received €1,000 to buy Bridgemate hardware ‒ a wireless scoring system for bridge clubs.
Castletown ICA Guild got a €1,700 contribution towards the replacement of a fireplace in its premises. Stradbally Community Allotments Association was allocated €1,000 for materials on a new site. The Kilminchy Management Company received €500 to buy a pop-up gazebo and fold-up chairs, which will be used for running community events.
The Association of NDI-GBO Bu Enyi, which is based in Portlaoise, was granted €900 for IT equipment. Also in Portlaoise, the One Voice with God group received €1,000 for musical equipment, such as keyboards and guitars.
Abbeyleix Tidy Towns received the largest allocation of €8,400 for improvement works at Corrán na Noir, Slí na Nor and Gort na nÓir as well as the provision of a playing pitch and for the purchase of a lawnmower. Shanahoe Community Alert received the lowest allocation of €394 to replace signs and poles on every road and location entering the village.
Other groups in Rathdowney, Mountrath, Rosenallis, Clonaslee, Vicarstown, Wolfhill, Killenard, Portarlington, Graiguecullen, Ballybrittas, Timahoe, Barrowhouse, Killeshin and Shanahoe also received grant aid.