The 2017 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund winners have been announced, with the worthy projects receiving a combined €100,000 for innovative projects that will support and inspire young people.

Who are the winners and what do they hope to achieve?

The Little Museum of Dublin

The museum will invest the grant in a bespoke photographic exhibition entitled 'A Woman's Work' that will document strong women in predominantly male professions. The exhibition will run for three months, during which it aims to foster diversity and inspire young women to pursue their passions.

An Cosán

The overarching mission of this organisation, based in Jobstown, Tallaght, is to empower through education. They will use the funding to develop a programme for young men from disadvantaged areas to enable them to come together in a safe space, and overcome barriers to employment or further education.

L-R: Kathryn McCance, The Little Museum of Dublin; Gavin Uzell, All Together in Dignity; PJ Gallagher, Thank You Fund Ambassador; and Tara Vize, Start360.

Foróige Sligo Leitrim

Foróige Clubs describe themselves as a safe place for young people to hang out, meet new friends and have a voice. They’ve received funding for their Big Brother Big Sister programme. This innovative pilot programme matches an adult volunteer to a young person with autism who is of the same gender with similar interests and compatible personalities, to help them navigate social, educational or work-related experiences.

Leave No Trace Ireland

Leave No Trace is an outdoor ethics programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships. Their winning project promotes integration between communities in Ireland and empowers young people at risk of social exclusion.

They provide opportunities for young people from a variety of backgrounds to take part in voyages along the Irish coastline on sail training vessels with a view to developing confidence and a sense of self-worth.

“We hope that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund will make a difference in the lives of those who have the opportunity to participate in the programmes.”
– Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland

Girls’ Brigade

The Girls' Brigade is an international youth organisation founded in 1893 in Dublin. This Antrim-based project aims to give young women (aged 14-25) across Northern Ireland who are members of the Brigade the opportunity to train as leaders in developing a positive mental health programme and share these learnings with the wider Brigade.  

CDYS Ltd

Based in Cork, CDYS is a voluntary and not for profit organisation that has worked with young people in the Diocese of Cloyne since 1962. It aims to bridge the divide between education and the workplace, fostering inclusion among young people. In partnership with iScoil – an online learning service – CDYS will establish a blended learning centre for young people aged 13-16 who are not in mainstream education.

€5,000 for eight other worthy projects

An additional eight organisations have each received €5,000 for programmes including the Ulster GAA Youth Leaders Programme; Co-operation Ireland’s project to help young people understand the impact of Brexit; the NI Youth Forum’s Without Boundaries project as well as the Change Makers project by Start360.

“We hope that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund will make a difference in the lives of those who have the opportunity to participate in the programmes.”
– Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award will also receive €5,000, as will Oasis Caring in Action Antrim which supports young mothers, Willowfield Parish Community Association and All Together in Dignity - ATD Fourth World Ireland.

These projects will have ‘immeasurable impact’

PJ Gallagher, Thank You Fund Ambassador, says he’s been overwhelmed by the diversity, thoughtfulness and potential impact of the projects. “Coca-Cola Ireland invited non-profit groups to enter projects that would inspire and support young people and there is no doubt that the grant recipients and the proposed projects will certainly do that.

“I am humbled by the people working in communities throughout the island of Ireland and believe that the impact of the work they do with young people has an immeasurable impact on our society. I look forward to staying in touch with the recipients as these projects come to fruition.”

Acquiring lifelong skills

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.

“All the winning projects are designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in their lives and our communities stand to benefit as participants go on to set a positive example among their peer groups.”

‘Reaching their full potential’

Petre Sandru, Country Manager, Coca-Cola Ireland thanked all the organisations who applied for Thank You Fund grants this year and the judges who helped select the winners. “It is important that the next generation of our society are given every possible opportunity to reach their full potential," he said.

“We hope that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund will make a difference in the lives of those who have the opportunity to participate in the programmes.”

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and YouthAction Northern Ireland.

Since the Thank You Fund was launched in 2011 it has invested a total of €855k in community groups and non-profit organisations throughout the island of Ireland.   

Find out more about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.