Community Champions Award

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Closing Date for Applications: Monday 4th December 2023 at 5pm.

What is the award?

The People First Community Champions Award 2023 is a special €10,000 prize for one of our local community groups. It's to appreciate the hard work and dedication shown by these groups in making our society better. We want projects that are not just creative but also have the power to make life better for people in our community.

This award shows how much we care about working together and making our community a great place for everyone. This award is supported by Laois County Council and Laois Public Participation network.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any not-for-profit community or voluntary group can apply. Commercial organisations and individuals are not eligible for funding.

What projects/costs are eligible for funding?

The following provides a non-exhaustive list of projects that could receive funding under the award. This award should benefit our common bond areas of Portlaoise, Abbeyleix, Athy, Stradbally and surrounding areas of the common bond within a 5km radius.

  • Development/renovation of community centre
  • Community amenities
  • Development of youth clubs or facilities
  • Development of sports/recreation facilities
  • Improvements to town parks and common areas and spaces
  • Public realm improvements
  • Streetscaping
  • Development of play/recreation spaces
  • Energy efficiency type projects
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Website Development

What is not eligible for funding?

The following expenditure is not eligible for funding:

  • Any project not in keeping with the ethos of the Programme
  • Employment costs
  • Legal fees
  • Project management fees
  • Purchase of lands or buildings
  • Feasibility studies
  • Private or commercial operations
  • Costs which are being paid for by another funder or department
  • Day to day running and expenses
  • Utility Bills (electricity costs, refuse charges, heating charges)
  • Operating costs (eg existing rental/lease costs, insurance bills.

Selection Criteria
Applications will be evaluated by People First Credit Union Community Funding Committee along with Laois Public Participation Network and Laois County Council to ensure eligibility and that they are targeted at addressing our guidelines. Projects must be in keeping with the ethos of the award, which is to provide funding to communities across Ireland to enhance facilities in disadvantaged areas.

Projects may also be judged having regard to how they:

  • Support local groups and clubs, for the development of the community.
  • Invest to increase or extend the use of the facility, for example, to voluntary and community groups;
  • Have a positive impact on the environment, for example, a reduction in energy consumption;
  • Support the creation of a sense of place within the community including through the enhancement of the built environment;
  • Address health and safety issues; and/or,
  • Invest in technology which will be accessed by individuals and communities
  • Projects may also be judged having regard to additional criteria deemed appropriate by People First Credit
  • Union which demonstrate the added value of the project or element of a project in suitably addressing the programme's aims in our common bond area.

How to apply

The application form is detailed and is designed to ensure that it has the necessary information to evaluate each proposal accurately and fairly.

The application form is available below.

Please ensure that you complete this application form in full and that any documentation in support of your application is submitted with your application. Only projects that meet the criteria outlined above will be considered eligible.

Submission of false or misleading information at any stage is treated very seriously. Any organisation that does not comply with the terms and conditions of the award may be subject to inspection, have their award withdrawn, be required to repay all or part of a grant and/or be barred from making applications for a period of time.

Terms and Conditions

Applications must be made from non-profit organisations or charities.

In making this application to People First Credit Union, please note the following:

  • The application will be treated as incomplete without the form being completed in full.
  • Only groups or organisations will be considered. People First Credit Union does not sponsor individuals.
  • Eligible applicants must be members of People First Credit Union's common bond. Please contact the office if you are unsure of your eligibility.
  • People First Credit Union will agree funding guidelines to the recipient regarding photo opportunities, and PR opportunities.
  • Funding will not be released until sponsorship guidelines have been carried out by the organisation and approved as satisfactory by People First Credit Union.
  • All organisations applying for People First Community Funding need to outline project details, including project amount.
  • The information supplied by the applicant group /organisation must be accurate and complete.
  • Misinformation may lead to disqualification and/or the repayment of any grant made.
  • It is the responsibility of each organisation to ensure that it has proper procedures and policies in place, including appropriate insurance, where relevant.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • The award will support groups, and charities who have a project that benefits the community. The award is not to be used for the purposes of day to day running expenses, overheads etc. The fund does not provide funding for the pay or employment of staff.
  • The activity or project must benefit the local community.
  • The information supplied by the applicant group /organisation must be accurate and complete.
  • Misinformation may lead to disqualification and/or the repayment of any grant made.
  • It is the responsibility of each organisation to ensure that it has proper procedures and policies in place, including appropriate insurance, where relevant.
  • Evidence of expenditure, receipts/invoices must be retained and provided to People First Credit Union or their representative if requested.
  • People First Credit Union's contribution must be publicly acknowledged in all materials associated with the purpose of the funding.
  • The Community and Voluntary Awards is presented to you by Laois County Council and Laois Public Participation Network. They will join People First Credit Union on the judging Panel for the decision on the award.


This application form should be completed on a PC, laptop or tablet if possible.

Section A: Organisation Contact Details

Section B: Contact Person Details

Section C: Project Details

Social media, press opportunities, advertising etc.

Section D: Organisation Details

Section E: Bank Details

Please provide bank details for the sponsorship funds to be sent to, should your application be successful. Please note, this must be an account in the club/organisation name, and not an individual's account.

Section F: Declaration and Consent

I declare that the information given on this form is accurate and correct.

I confirm that I have read and fully understand the Terms and Conditions of the People First Community Champion Awards 2023.

I confirm that this grant application is submitted in acceptance of and compliance with the Terms and Conditions.

I confirm that the application group/organisation does not have the funding to undertake the work/project without this grant aid or alternatively that the grant will facilitate a larger project which they would otherwise be unable to afford.

I give permission for People First Credit Union to collect and store the data entered on this form, in accordance with the credit union privacy policy.