Water sports, swimming and boxing clubs are among the beneficiaries of a new grassroots sports fund established by Fibrus.
The Full Fibre broadband company had originally set aside £30k for the initiative but an additional £17k was added to the initial pot after applications flooded in this Spring, meaning more local communities have benefitted from funding in Northern Ireland.
Nearly 50 grants of up to £1,000 have now been given to a range of grassroots sports, including football, Gaelic games and cricket among others across Northern Ireland and Cumbria, as Fibrus continues to roll out in these regions.
In Northern Ireland, 29 grassroots sports are set to benefit from the investment.
These clubs, who are working with young people, will get a share of the cash, covering everything from rugby to rowing, football to athletics and hockey, all funded through ‘Play it Forward’.
The fund will be used to support clubs in a variety of different ways, such as purchasing new kits, subsidising training fees, purchasing new equipment or enhancing existing facilities.
Dominic Kearns, Chief Executive of Fibrus, said the ‘Play it Forward’ fund reflects the company’s commitment to invest in communities beyond broadband.
“Our promise to connect communities on a local level also means encouraging children to go outside, make friends and have fun,” he said.
“The decision to increase the fund this summer will help nearly 50 grassroots clubs to thrive and make a lasting impact in their communities, empowering young people to excel in sport, while enjoying themselves.
“After an overwhelming response from the community, we felt compelled to extend the fund to make a positive impact in the lives of kids.
“If the ‘Play it Forward’ sports fund helps young people in local clubs to pursue their sporting passions and fulfil their potential, then it will have done its job both here in Northern Ireland and in Cumbria.”
One of the clubs that has benefited from the sports fund is Coleraine Alumni Rowing Association. They expressed their gratitude and excitement about the grant:
“Receiving a ‘Play it Forward’ grant from Fibrus has been a game-changer for the club and the funding has allowed us to purchase new oars for the club’s youth section. It has not only bolstered our club’s capabilities but has also strengthened the bond within our community, enabling us to continue providing opportunities for our young athletes to participate in sports and build lasting friendships,” said club chair Jamie Gibson.
Fibrus is already committed to giving back to local communities outside of sports. The Fibrus Community Fund invests £120k each year (across Northern Ireland and Cumbria) to combat digital deprivation in these regions. Just last month, the company announced it had allocated all of its funding for 2023 ahead of schedule in Northern Ireland due to overwhelming demand.