Coca-Cola today announced that it has awarded €130,000 to community groups in Ireland and Northern Ireland for a series of innovative projects which will support and inspire young people. Extern Limerick is receiving €30,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund for its Jumping Hurdles Horse Project, which will equip young people across Limerick City with the competencies to seek and gain employment in the equine sector.

Extern will work with ten young people over two years, equipping them with stable management and equitation expertise, and helping them to develop confidence and life skills such as team work and time management.

Eight not-for-profit groups will receive €10,000 each for initiatives including a dedicated online support platform for young people run by Turn2Me. On Inishbofin, Co. Galway, local craftsmen will work with the young people of the island to build four currachs, keeping a vital skill alive for the next generation. Classes focused on building leadership skills will also be offered to the young people by Inishbofin Community Services Programme.

Sports Against Racism Ireland has received funding for its Diverse City Soccernites Young Leader Programme. This is a series of free weekly soccer classes for 120 young women of all backgrounds in Dublin’s inner city that will run in tandem with a certified Young Leader Programme that challenges prejudices and promotes cultural integration and active citizenship.

Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement, said: “Every young person needs the support of the community where they grow up. We need our families, but we also need organisations like those being rewarded today. If you can get a young person involved in an organisation or cause they care about, they become empowered to play a positive role in our community. They gain a circle of friends with similar interests and, as they gain more experience, can help those younger than themselves become involved as well. Among the projects receiving grants from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today are many great examples of projects that will intrigue and engage young people. Congratulations to the all the recipients – I look forward to seeing all the winning projects activated in our local communities.”

“The variety and ingenuity of the projects receiving Funding today is truly remarkable. The brief issued by Coca-Cola was to develop projects that would inspire and support young people, and the not-for-profit groups of Ireland and Northern Ireland have certainly not disappointed. From giving young people in Limerick equitation skills which will provide them with a viable path to employment to building currachs with the youth of Inishbofin, the emphasis is on engaging youth so that they can learn new skills while also doing something they are passionate about. I can’t wait to see these projects activated over the coming months, and congratulate all those who entered the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund this year,” said Eoghan McDermott, Coca-Cola Thank You Fund ambassador.

An additional four organisations will each receive €5,000 for programmes such as Tramore Community Radio’s young people's media project focused on confidence building and personal development through radio production and presentation.

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland. Speaking today, Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes, Irish Youth Foundation, said the projects selected had the potential to transform the lives of young people.

“The best way to reach young people and help them acquire skills that they will use throughout their lives is by getting them involved with groups that serve their passions. There is no such thing as one size fits all, and the projects funded by the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund will appeal to a broad cross section of young people. All are designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in their lives. Furthermore, our communities stand to benefit as participants have an opportunity to be positive role models amongst their peers,” she said.

Matthieu Seguin, ‎General Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland, thanked all the organisations who entered the Fund this year and also the judges who helped determine the winners.

“We are so grateful to our distinguished panel of judges who met all our shortlisted groups and had the difficult task of determining who was to receive funding. The response we received to the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund in 2016 was the strongest in some years, which shows that the appetite and enthusiasm is there for helping our young people fulfil their potential. Thank you to everyone who entered the Fund this year – the contribution you make in the lives of young people every day across local communities is immensely valued,” he said.

More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.

Notes to the Editor

Grant Recipients

The full list of projects being awarded grants from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today is as follows:

· €30K – Extern Limerick for its ‘Jumping Hurdles Horse Project’, providing young people across Limerick city with the competencies to seek and gain employment in the equine sector.

·  €10K – Beacon of Light Counselling Centre to address anger management issues by providing psychotherapy and martial arts training for young men from disadvantaged backgrounds.

·  €10K – Gaisce to introduce young people in Direct Provision to its President's Award programme.

·  €10K – Inishbofin Community Project to equip Inishbofin’s young population with life skills, in part through building traditional island currachs under the guidance of a local craftsman.

·  €10K – Sports Against Racism Ireland for its Diverse City Soccernites Young Leader Programme. This is a series of free weekly soccer classes young women of all backgrounds in Dublin’s inner city, run alongside a certified Young Leader Programme that challenges prejudices and promotes cultural integration and active citizenship.

·  €10K – Turn2Me to develop a safe, online community for young people where they can find support and share positive coping experiences with their peers, all under the guidance of a fully trained facilitator.

·  €10K – Co-operation Ireland for its Legacy Youth Leadership Programme, enabling young people to develop skills to become leaders of change in their communities.

·  €10K – Drake Music Project for its Music and Machines, programme, which facilitates young people with disabilities and their peers in accessing independent music making workshops.

·  €10K – Cedar Foundation to develop and implement a recruitment and training programme in partnership with ten disabled young people.

·  €5K – Antrim Youth Information and Counselling Centre to enable its youth group FOCUS to deliver a new HI-5 Emotional Health and Wellbeing Programme.

·  €5K – Orchardville Society to enhance the leadership skills of its User Forum, which is comprised of service users with an intellectual disability who have the opportunity to influence decision making.

·  €5K – Tramore Community Radio for a young people's media project focused on confidence building and personal development through radio production and presentation.

·  €5K – Cushendall Development Group to provide specialist training to young people in the Middle Glens who are not currently in employment or education.

Media Contact:

Cillian Murphy, Q4PR. 01-4751444 and 086-4107750