Social enterprises across Ireland to get €500k

€500,000 is being allocated to groups across the island of Ireland in year three of the Begin Together Fund.

Community groups and social enterprises across Ireland are to receive financial support from Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together programme in 2022.

Groups working with migrants, supports for mental wellbeing, resilience for people out of employment, and financial literacy for young people, are among 68 community projects that will receive financial support from Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together programme in 2022.

“What they do unites, supports and protects local communities and the most vulnerable in society”

In total, €500,000 is being allocated to groups across the island of Ireland in year three of the Fund, delivered in partnership with the Community Foundation for Ireland.

This will bring the total value of grants issued via the Community Fund to €1.5m since 2020.

Powering communities

The Fund is one strand of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme, a three-year, €4m initiative to support community groups, local enterprise and the arts across the island of Ireland. 

“We’re immensely proud to support a wide range of community groups, charities, and social enterprises working across Ireland,” said Laura Lynch, chief marketing officer at Bank of Ireland.

“What they do unites, supports and protects local communities and the most vulnerable in society.

Together-Razem, based in Cork, provides financial counselling, education and supports in native languages for Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian immigrants, and has been recipients of the Begin Together Community Fund since its inception. The 2022 Begin Together grant will benefit a new financial education project taking place over 14 weeks. 

“Communities across Ireland still face many challenges. At this time, we are acutely aware of the pressure on resources of community groups, and notably those supporting migrant groups, like Together-Razem, who, along with their existing range of counselling and educational supports, are providing urgent assistance to Ukrainian refugees. It’s our hope that support from the Begin Together Fund will help them continue to provide the practical financial counselling and education that is vital to the wellbeing of the communities that they support.”

The Community Fund aims to support initiatives that are improving financial, mental, or physical wellbeing, with initiatives receiving up to €20,000 each for projects spanning financial literacy and wellbeing, mental health, disability, inclusion and diversity and social isolation.

“The Bank of Ireland Community Fund is transforming lives, often when people are experiencing greatest need,” said Denise Charlton, chief executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland. “We believe in equality for all in thriving communities. It is an ambitious goal but one which, through initiatives like the Community Fund, is achievable.

“The impact we have seen since the fund was first established has been extraordinary, particularly when you consider that it was providing support with the backdrop of the pandemic. The Community Foundation for Ireland values its partnership with Bank of Ireland and looks forward to working together into the future for the betterment of all our communities.”

Some of the recipients of 2022 Begin Together Community Fund Grants:

  • Together-Razem aims to improve the quality of life of the migrant community in Ireland by providing essential support services for those who are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. This year’s project, DEBTDUCTION, aims to educate people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who struggle financially and to provide financial wellbeing support in three languages – Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian.
  • Advice NI – Digi Money – Advice NI’s vision is of a society of confident, active and informed citizens, who know how to access their rights and entitlements The Digi Money project trains up Digital Money Champions from migrant and refugee communities who speak a language in addition to English. Our picture shows the Digi Money team, training Digital Money Champions from migrant and refugee communities who speak a language in addition to English.
  • COPE Galway Embracing Ageing – COPE Galway provides essential support services for people who are homeless, women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and older people.
  • The Alzheimer Society of Ireland – Sensory Garden Bethany House Day Care Centre Carlow – A garden of this nature allows the Person With Dementia (PWD) the opportunity to be outdoors and have meaningful interaction with others. The dementia-friendly garden can evoke positive, shared memories for the person with dementia.

Main image at top: Laura Lynch, chief marketing officer at Bank of Ireland, is pictured attending an English class at the Together-Razem Centre in Cork where Agnieszka Wozniak, Olha Davydenko and Oleksandra Avtomieienko explained how the Centre supports Ukrainians who recently arrived in Ireland

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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