More than €800,000 in funding support for grassroots community groups, social enterprises and artists supported under Begin Together Fund.
Bank of Ireland has announced almost 100 community and arts projects across the island of Ireland as beneficiaries of €825,000 in funding from its Begin Together programme.
Social isolation prevention, groups that work with migrants, financial literacy for young people, and multi-sensory arts experiences are among the projects being supported this year.
“The arts enrich our lives, but this sector has been one of the most seriously impacted during the pandemic”
The funding is being allocated under two headings – the Begin Together Community Fund, in partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, which provides financial support to grassroots groups, social enterprises and charities, and the Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Business to Arts, which supports artists creating inspiring artworks to uplift their local communities.
Community Fund grantees will receive up to €20,000 for projects spanning financial literacy and wellbeing, mental health, disability, inclusion and diversity and social isolation. Arts Fund grantees will receive up to €10,000 to support the creation of new works in music, theatre, dance, traditional arts, and the visual arts.
Helping communities to thrive
“We’re immensely proud to support a wide range of community groups, charities, and social enterprises working in every part of Ireland,” said Bank of Ireland group chief executive Francesca McDonagh.
“What they do unites, supports and protects local communities and some of the most vulnerable in our society. While the road ahead looks much more positive, communities across Ireland still face many challenges. It’s our hope that this support will help them face those challenges, and overcome them.
“The arts enrich our lives, but this sector has been one of the most seriously impacted during the pandemic. The Begin Together Arts Fund has helped sustain the development of new work and artistic practice during the pandemic and the new projects announced today will continue to enrich our lives and communities into the future.”
Sanctuary Runners – a nationwide non-profit organisation which encourages Irish residents to run alongside, and in solidarity with, asylum seekers and refugees in Direct Provision – is one of the groups to receive funding under the Begin Together programme.
“We focus on community integration on the run,” explained Sanctuary Runners’ co-founder Graham Clifford. “Bringing asylum seekers, refugees, and other migrants together with those in wider Irish community one step at a time.
“Our runners, joggers and walkers, which now total over 4,000, come from all different backgrounds and nationalities. And now hope, with the help and support of the Begin Together Fund, to develop a new group of the Sanctuary Runners, our 30th in Ireland, in Donegal. We feel this group will benefit the entire North West Region and that the people of Letterkenny and Donegal will get behind this healthy, positive and impactful initiative.”
Theatre Lovett, one of the leading companies in Ireland making theatre for all ages, will also receive funding.
“This funding is a direct investment in young people and creativity,” said Theatre Lovett joint artistic director Muireann Ahern.
“It offers creative learning opportunities for children across the Waterford region. Encouraging child development and wellbeing through creativity is at the core of this cultural programme led by Theatre Lovett and our partner organisation, Theatre Royal Waterford.”
Other groups that are to be funded include:
- Liquid Therapy, a volunteer-based not-for-profit that provides surf and ocean therapy for young people facing physical, mental, emotional, behavioural and intellectual challenges.
- Connecting Communities will see artists Kathryn Boyle and Ciara Dunne working in partnership with Beat Carnival to create an outdoor winter lantern parade connecting neighbouring communities through the crafting of festival floats and lanterns.
- Embrace FARM, which offers support services to the families and friends of those affected by farming accidents.
- The Music Box conceptualised by visual arts duo Cleary Connolly in partnership with Sample-Studios and Cork City Council’s Glow Festival, will see the Cork Youth Orchestra perform in the Pavilion in Fitzgerald Park, Cork while motion capture technology turns their movements into light projections, bringing a sound and light show to audiences both inside and outside.
Main image at top: Pictured are Janet Adebola Jones and Ciara McCluskey from Sanctuary Runners, one of the groups to receive funding, along with Bank of Ireland Group Chief Executive Francesca McDonagh. Sanctuary Runners is a nationwide non-profit organisation which encourages Irish residents to run alongside, and in solidarity with, asylum seekers and refugees in Direct Provision