Skilled tradesmen associated with sports clubs should be let carry out maintenance work for their club and that work count towards the portion of funds clubs are expected to raise for any renovations.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish who is calling for changes in the rules and procedures regarding how Sports Capital Grants are accessed, so that it becomes easier for clubs to draw down funding and develop sporting facilities.
Under the current rules, when a grant has been awarded, a registered contractor must be appointed to carry out the works while the club must raise up to 30 per cent of the total cost of the project itself.
With the recession, however, Dep Grealish said clubs are “now finding it very difficult” to raise funds for the basic day to day expenses of running a club.
Dep Grealish said that every sports club in Ireland has members that are skilled tradesmen and are currently unemployed but who are prepared to do work on behalf of their club in a voluntary capacity.
“If the value of this voluntary work can be recognised as contributing towards the club’s portion of the costs of the project, it would make it much easier for a club to develop sporting facilities which can be used by people of all ages in their community,” he said.
He added that it would also helps the volunteers, especially those who are long-term unemployed “to give something back to their communities, while at the same time, giving them an opportunity to use their skills and gain confidence in working again”.
Dep Grealish will be raising the issue matter with the Minister for Sport Michael Ring.
“This will not have any cost to the Department of Sport,” he said, “but will allow clubs right across the country to upgrade and improve their facilities with the help of their members.”