Community groups express delight at opportunity to invest in new technologies

Community groups in Sligo have received a quick cash injection thanks to the RISE Community Fund supported by National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company delivering the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

Established by NBI Chairman and technology entrepreneur, David McCourt, RISE is providing monthly grants across the country for community groups, farms, small businesses and social enterprises in rural communities seeking to boost their digital ecosystems.

Receiving the grants of €1000 each were the Achonry Farmers Market, which plans to add a free Wi-Fi service to the farmers market; Community of Lough Arrow Social Project CLG, which will use the funding to upgrade its Wi-Fi system and purchase screens for sharing its on-line information in its community centres; Neurology Support Centre, which plans to set up a mindfulness counselling service which can be accessed remotely; and lastly, Sligo Yacht Club, which will update its website to incorporate an online payment system for members and non-members of the community.  

David McCourt, founder of RISE and Chairman of NBI, commented: “When we launched the RISE Community Fund supported by NBI, we were looking for community groups, farms, 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 up applications in Sligo, the response has been incredible and now we’re excited to be awarding grants to our four successful applicants. Each one of them is an inspiration, volunteering their time and committing a huge amount of energy and passion to bring pride of place to their local community.”

Following the route of the NBI broadband network deployment, the RISE Community Fund, supported by NBI, calls on small businesses, community groups, farms and social enterprises to use technology in creative and entrepreneurial ways to deliver maximum impact.

Bernard Hayes, from the Neurology Support Centre commented: “We are delighted to receive this grant from the RISE Community Fund and NBI. With the help of the grant, we will be able to reach those who live in remote locations and make them feel part of our community. With a neurological condition, people can feel very isolated within themselves and from the community. With the help of the RISE Community Fund, we can reach more people who need our counselling services even if they are in remote areas.”

Peter Hendrick, Chief Executive Officer, National Broadband Ireland, 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, farms, 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 Sligo.” Read more about the Community Fund at