Community groups receive cash injections to invest in new technologies

Six community groups including businesses, social enterprises and a school in county Clare have received a quick cash injection to invest in new technology thanks to the RISE Community Fund. 

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. The fund is further supported by corporate sponsors including KN Circet, KPMG, Test Triangle, DreamDev Technologies, and TLI Group. 

Receiving the grants of €1000 each were community groups Ballyea Community Group (BCG), with plans to develop a Digital Strategy for the local community to increase take-up of high-speed broadband; East Clare Community Co-Operative Society Ltd, to extend its public WiFi capabilities; and Corofin Future Planning Association, which is investing in new computers and training to support local farmers with digital upskilling. 

Further grants were awarded to Kilnaboy Group Water Scheme Cooperative Society Ltd, a community owned rural water supply which is investing in new online resources to provide education around issues such as water conservation; St Joseph’s NS Cree, to provide new technologies to expand its capabilities to support children with learning coding; and AppleOak FibreWorks, which is establishing an online educational programme covering the professional aspects of natural dying and promoting the circular economy. 

David McCourt, founder of RISE and Chairman of Granahan McCourt and NBI, commented: “The RISE Community Fund looks for community groups, charities, small businesses and social enterprises in rural areas who are exploring how technology can scale the impact of their work. I’m delighted to say that since opening applications in County Clare, the response has been incredible and now we’re excited to be awarding grants to our 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. 

Orla Meaney from the Corofin Future Planning Association, commented: “As a voluntary group, we’re dedicated to the social, cultural and environmental development of our local area. Our organisation plays an important role supporting the planning and implementation of community development initiatives, and this support from RISE will significantly help us as we look to use technology to scale the impact of our work with vital digital upskilling.”

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 Clare.”

NBI is reminding Clare residents to also visit their website at to check whether their home, farm or business is included in the National Broadband Plan and to sign up for Eircode specific updates on the rollout. 

Read more about the RISE Community Fund at

Photo caption: (Back row L-R) Niamh O’Donoghue, National Broadband Ireland, Tom Holmes, IFA, Councillor Joe Killeen, Felice Rae, East Clare Community Co-Operative Society Ltd, Tristan Lienhard, AppleOak FibreWorks, Orla O’Malley, RISE Community Fund

(Front row L-R) Orla Meaney, Corofin Future Planning Association, Cathal Barry, Kilnaboy Group Water Scheme Cooperative Society Ltd., Breandán O’Looney, Ballyea Community Group, Mags Liddy, East Clare Community Co-Operative Society Ltd