Overall winner, Irish Olympic Handball Association, is awarded 25k Euros in funding. 10 other groups receive grants of 10k Euros each.

Dublin, 14th November, 2012 - Coca‑Cola Ireland today revealed the names of the 11 winning non-profit organisations who will be awarded grants from the €125,000 ‘Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund’. The winning groups and projects were announced at an awards ceremony in Dublin today attended by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, TD. The Irish Olympic Handball Association was announced as the overall winner at today’s award ceremony. The organisation, which competed with over 200 applicants for the top prize, will receive a grant of €25k from the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund. The grant will impact more than 10,000 young people. A further ten organisations, announced as runners up, will each receive of €10,000 to help get their innovative projects up and running.

With the funding they received today the Irish Olympic Handball Association plans to target 10,000 young people and 200 teachers and youth group leaders across Ireland through a series of Street Handball Seminars that will take place nationwide. Identified by the judges as the programme that was best positioned to mobilise large groups of people to get involved and to get active, the Seminar Series will culminate in a national Street Handball Festival which will bring Handball to the best known and biggest streets in Ireland. It is expected that the initiative, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, will introduce people to an exciting new form of exercise and will encourage communities to come together and get active. This was the overall objective of the 2012 Thank You Fund.

Congratulating the dedicated people behind each of the winning projects, the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said: “Today has been a wonderful occasion and I am delighted to present these awards to such worthy organisations. I would like to congratulate each of the very deserving groups and wish them every success with the projects which they have planned. Coca‑Cola is to be commended for its ongoing commitment to the Thank You Fund, for recognising the value of the great work carried out by our many voluntary organisations and for facilitating the continuation and success of this work through the Fund. I very much look forward to seeing the various initiatives come to life through the support of the Fund over the coming twelve months.”

Established in 2011 the ‘Coca Cola Thank You Fund’ seeks to recognise and support projects and initiatives that are promoting active lifestyles throughout the island of Ireland. Operated in partnership with The Wheel and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) the winning recipients are selected through a combination of a public vote and a judging panel.

Also speaking today Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland said: “Now in its second year, the Coca Cola Thank You Fund is gaining great momentum and this year’s response has been overwhelming. We received over 200 applications from across the island of Ireland, all clearly demonstrating the very valuable work which is being done in communities to encourage more physical activity in all in forms. I would like to congratulate all our winners here today and to thank them for enabling Coca‑Cola to play a role in supporting the wonderful work which they do. We are very excited that these 11 innovative projects and schemes will now be able to come to fruition with the grants from the Thank You Fund. We look forward to staying in touch with each of the organisations in the year ahead to see the impact that the innovative approach each group plans to take will have on people’s lives.”

Fitness expert Karl Henry who was a member of the judging panel said: “Working as a judge on the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund has been both an honour and an inspiration. Is has been a pleasure to meet face to face today with the individuals behind the winning initiatives and schemes. As a fitness professional I was thrilled when this year’s theme of ‘promoting active lifestyles’ was chosen for the Fund and it has been incredibly heartening to see the amazing work that is being carried out by community groups on the ground to encourage those around them to get more active. The winning projects were chosen on the strength of their sustainability, the numbers of people that they could impact, and the potential long-term benefits for communities. I look forward to following the role out of each of the schemes with great interest.”

The 11 organisations receiving funding from the Coca‑Cola 125 Years
Thank You Fund include:

Winner - Irish Olympic Handball Association – received €25k in funding

The following groups were awarded grants of €10k

  • Arthritis Ireland
  • Autism Initiatives NI
  • Ballina Boxing Club
  • Ballyduff AFC
  • CoisCeim Dance Theatre Ltd
  • Fortwilliam & Macrory Presbyterian Church
  • Navan Community Ltd.
  • Northern Ireland at Play
  • Spraoi agus Sport
  • The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

The Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund was launched in May this year, the deadline for entries was July 20. A shortlist of 45 was announced in September and the public vote continued throughout the month. Simultaneously a judging panel also scored the shortlist with 50% of the final result formed from the public vote and 50% from the judging panel.

The judging panel for this year’s Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund was made up of a Coca Cola representative as well as variety of experts and promoters of active lifestyles which included Karl Henry, Personal Trainer; Alan Quinlan, Former Muster Rugby / Ireland Player; Sarah O’Connor, Chief Executive at The Federation of Irish Sports; Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael TD in Dublin South East; Deirdre Garvey , CEO, The Wheel ; James Laverty, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and John Heaslip, CEO, Business in the Community Northern Ireland

For further information and to view the winning entries log onto www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou. 


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