These are not the most cheerful of times, but we have some news that is sure to put a smile on your face!
One brand that was there to help the youth of Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland, was Coca-Cola, with its Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, Coca-Cola gave away a massive €100,000 to 13 local community groups.
It was a tough competition, as applications from all 32 counties right across the island of Ireland were submitted, as the impact of the pandemic on young people took its toll.
So, who are the lucky recipients?
23 shortlisted groups pitched their ideas to the panel during a series of virtual judging sessions, with seven of the thirteen recipient organisations set to receive a grant of €10,000 for the development of their local project. They include; The Breen Centre (Antrim), Willowfield (Inner East Belfast), Enactus Ireland (Dublin), Club Óige Árainn Mhór (Donegal), BeLonG To Youth Services (Nationwide), Akina Dada Wa Afrika (AkiDwA) (Sister from Africa) (Dublin), and Buddy Bench Ireland (Kilkenny).
An additional six organisations also received €5,000 for their responsive project ideas following their pitch to the panel including; Greyscale Community Enterprises (L/Derry), Dreamscheme (Outer East Belfast), Down Syndrome Tipperary (Tipperary), Ablevision Ireland (Louth), Belmullet Swimming Club (Mayo) and Dublin City Farm and Ecology Centre (Dublin).
Marking a decade of support for youth-orientated community-based initiatives across the island of Ireland, this year’s tenth-anniversary Fund focused on those disproportionately affected by the economic and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, with a record number of applications registered.
Launched in August, this fund was determined to help with young people’s recovery post COVID-19, with grants awarded by a panel of judges to projects seeking support for initiatives targeted at 16 to 25-year-olds.
The chosen projects are ones that help build their resilience, meet the education gaps that exist and tackle the mental health challenges they’re facing today and will continue to face.
Thanking all the organisations who applied for the 2020 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, along with the judges who had the impossible task of selecting this year’s recipients Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland said: ‘We have been recording year on year increases in the level of applications submitted to the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund since we launched the programme in 2011. This year has been like no other.’
‘For the first time, the Fund received applications from all 32 counties and while we are so proud to realise our goal of providing an all-island support to groups working with those most at risk in their local communities, it is a stark reminder of the impact the pandemic is having on our young people.’
‘We are facing into a real battle as we work to rebuild out local communities – some of whom have been totally devastated as a result of the crisis. For some, the end of the crisis will allow them to return to some sense of normality, but for others their only glimmer of hope is the support of the hardworking frontline heroes in their local community, with projects made possible by this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund,’ adds Lucy Masterson, Chief Executive of Coca-Cola Thank You Fund supporters Irish Youth Foundation.
Since 2011, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund has now donated €1,155,000 to over 100 non-profit organisations involved in youth targeted community, social and education programmes across the island of Ireland.
The full list of projects awarded grants from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today has been included below
Groups Awarded €10,0000 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund Grants:
- Breen Centre offers musical and performing arts education to the local area. Their project, MiND, will bring young adults together to explore the medium of digital music, workshops and events. While professionally up-skilling and exploring these new opportunities, participants will also be encouraged to have a dialogue within the network about their personal welfare and mental health.
- Willowfield Parish Community Centre will develop ‘Moving Forward’, with the funding – seeking to empower young people from the local community to overcome the many barriers they face in life – enabling and encourage them to reach their potential through a variety of initiatives under area of education, employment, physical fitness and personal development.
- Enactus Ireland Dublin is dedicated to developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. They will deliver through this grant the ‘Live Like Never Before Project’ that will challenge third level students to develop social entrepreneurial projects to ensure healthy lifestyles and promote positive well-being among young vulnerable people in their local community.
- Club Óige Árainn Mhór provides services to the rural area of Arranmore Island and applied for the funding to engage young people from the island to continue social interaction with each other and youth groups in other area – taking part in various activities including music classes, science workshops, make up workshops, film making and heritage archive curation through online platforms.
- National organisation BelonG To Youth Services supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland. Their funding will help them manage the increased demand on their services during the pandemic – reaching more in-need individuals and ensuring the continuation of the lifesaving youth work support services.
- National network of migrant women, Akina Dada Wa Afrika (AkiDwA) (Sister from Africa), will use the funding the run the AkiDwA’s Young Migrant Women (YMW) Project. Targeting young migrant women between the ages of 18-25, the project will provide a safe space where they can share their experiences and find their place in life though projects which directly target their unique socio-cultural needs especially in the light of Covid 19.
- Buddy Bench Ireland educates young people on positive mental well-being with evidence-led lessons on topics such as kindness, friendship, resilience and emotional intelligence. Building upon their relationship with Irish Men’s Sheds, they will promote positive mental health and encourage reconnection for those transitioning out of isolation, by install Coca-Cola Chat Benches in local third-level colleges. Additionally, they will pilot an online 3-session psychological intervention based on problem-solving therapy to 11 students
Congratulations to all the recipients!
For more information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund check out the website here.