April 2023: Five community groups in Westmeath have received a quick cash injection to invest in new technology thanks to the RISE Community Fund supported by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) and Granahan McCourt.
Established by Granahan McCourt and NBI Chairman, David McCourt, RISE is providing monthly grants across the country for rural community organisations seeking to boost their digital ecosystems.
Receiving the grants of €1000 each were the Streete Parish Park and Sport Complex, which recently became a Broadband Community Point (BCP) under the National Broadband Plan and intends to invest in its online presence and upskill volunteers to pass on digital skills; Caulry GAA, which is installing a digital access control system to secure its facility; Westmeath Women’s Sheds, which will be installing broadband and purchasing computer equipment for its meeting space; Milltownpass Tidytowns, which has plans to enhance its digital channels to inform its community online; and Bonny Bo, in order to develop an app and online tools to make its services more accessible.
David McCourt, founder of RISE and Chairman of Granahan McCourt and NBI, commented: “When we launched the RISE Community Fund, we were looking for community groups, charities, small businesses and social enterprises in rural areas who were exploring how technology could scale the impact of their work. I’m delighted to say that since opening applications in County Westmeath, the response has been incredible and now we’re excited to be awarding grants to our five successful applicants. Each one of them is an inspiration, with many volunteering their time and committing a huge amount of energy and passion to bring pride of place to their local community.”
The RISE Community Fund supported by NBI and Granahan McCourt calls on small businesses, charities, community groups and social enterprises to use technology in creative and entrepreneurial ways to deliver maximum impact.
Kevin Brady, from Streete Parish Park and Sport Complex, commented: “We recently had high-speed broadband installed as we became a Broadband Connection Point as part of NBI’s rollout of the National Broadband Plan. This means we have a tremendous opportunity to provide free high-speed internet access to the community to benefit from. This grant from the RISE Community Fund supported by NBI and Granahan McCourt will make a real impact, helping us to develop our online presence and spread the word within the community about the facilities we now have to offer.”
Peter Hendrick, CEO of NBI, added: “At NBI, we’re on a mission to connect over 1.1 million people in rural Ireland who don’t have access to high-speed broadband to a world-class, superfast network. Whilst connectivity is a vital utility and a critical first step, it alone can’t solve all of the challenges for businesses, community groups and social enterprises trying to expand the positive impact they’re able to have – both to the local community, and to the wider economy. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to engage local communities with the RISE Community Fund and celebrate innovative uses of technology in Westmeath.”