Applications for this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund will be opening very soon with grants totalling €100,000 once again available to help non-profit organisations across the island of Ireland Build for Better.
Since 2011, the Coca-Cola Fund has awarded nearly €1.2 million in grants to over 100 local community groups, so here’s a look back at last year’s recipients and their projects in the meantime for some inspiration!
Designed to educate young people on the importance of mental well-being - helping them to develop their resilience and emotional intelligence, Buddy Bench Ireland received a Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grant of €10,000 to bring their idea to life. Building on their relationship with Irish Men’s Sheds, they will promote positive mental health and encourage reconnection for those transitioning out of an extended period of Covid-19 restrictions, through the development and installation of Coca-Cola Chat Benches in local third-level colleges later this year. Additionally, they will use the funds to pilot a virtual psychological intervention programme, based on problem-solving therapy for young people.
Dublin City Farm and Ecology Centre, a volunteer-led community project, was awarded €5,000 in funding having applied to the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund seeking support for an important skills-based, sustainability project on the farm. Providing a safe and relaxed environment for young people in North Dublin, recruiting those most vulnerable from the community to get involved is central to the mission of this project, which has been carefully designed to empower and support societal wellbeing and resilience.
With the 2020 Fund reimagined to support those most at risk from the immediate challenges of the pandemic, BelonG To Youth Services, the national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland, received funding to help them manage the increased demand on their services post pandemic - reaching more in-need individuals and ensuring the continuation of the lifesaving youth work support systems they provide.
Breen Centre, a non-profit organisation in Northern Ireland that supports creative development through creative industries, activities and lifelong learning, was awarded €10,000 in funding for their project, MiND. Designed to bring young adults together to explore the medium of digital music, workshops and events, while professionally up-skilling and exploring these new opportunities, participants will also be encouraged to have a dialogue within the network about their personal welfare and mental health.
Dedicated to developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators Enactus Ireland Dublin will deliver its ‘Live Like Never Before Project’ through the 2020 Coca-Cola grant received. This programme will challenge third level students to develop social entrepreneurial projects that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote positive well-being among young vulnerable people in their local community.
Akina Dada Wa Afrika (AkiDwA) (Sister from Africa), a national network of migrant women based in North Dublin, has been using the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grant received to run the AkiDwA's Young Migrant Women (YMW) Project. Targeting young migrant women between the ages of 18-25 right across Ireland, the project is providing a safe space where young women can share their experiences and find their place though projects which directly target their unique socio-cultural needs.
Dreamscheme, a Northern Ireland youth charity creating safe spaces where young people can thrive, will use the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grant to grow their support for young people in local estates most at risk as a result of the pandemic. Some of the issues the group work to help young people with include mental health concerns, anxiety, and loss of opportunity. Through education, organised relationship building activities and training, participants will build resilience, confidence and a practical plan for future employment.
Providing invaluable services to young people in the rural area of Arranmore Island, Club Óige Árainn Mhór, applied for €10,000 in funding to engage young people from the island in an inclusive programme promoting social interactions, addressing issues with isolation and encouraging shared experiences with youth groups in other areas. Nurturing the importance of the Irish langue and culture, the funding will support a series of education and training projects over the coming months in the areas of creativity, science and heritage archive curation through online platforms.
Made up of parents and family members working together to ensure all community members with Down Syndrome can reach their full potential Down Syndrome Tipperary received €5,000 in Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grants to deliver “Acting to Adulthood” - an 11- week programme designed to encourage, enhance and build confidence in young adults with Down Syndrome residing in Co. Tipperary, through the art of drama and music.
Willowfield Parish Community Centre in East Belfast received funding for the development of ‘Moving Forward.’ With the funding the group is seeking to empower young people from the local community to overcome the many barriers they face in life – enabling and encouraging them to reach their potential through a variety of initiatives under the areas of education, employment, general mental fitness and personal development.
Providing programmes of education and training to develop the skills of young people in County Armagh - enabling them to participate as independent, mature and responsible individuals, Greysteel Community Enterprises will use the €5,000 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund grant awarded to develop an intensive 6-month work ready programme for 20 young people in the local area. Working to mitigate against the impact of youth unemployment, as part of the Coca-Cola funded project Greysteel Community Enterprises has partnered with local businesses, giving all 20 young participants the opportunity to be mentored and have their skills levels and interests assessed in order to build a customised portfolio of work experience. By the end of the campaign, each participant will have gained the knowledge and confidence to improve their employability.
Ablevision Ireland, a non-profit training organisation supporting young adults with intellectual disabilities applied for funding to set up ‘Horticulture for Easy Gardening and Independence.’ By learning about sustainability and gaining the practical knowledge of how to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund supported programme will help participants increase their self-confidence and gain valuable communication skills – building better futures for themselves.
Responsive to the increase in demand for sea-based activities amongst young people impacted by the pandemic, Belmullet Swimming Club applied for funding to run water safety classes in their rural, coastal community. Their funding will go towards offering programmes that aim to encourage local teenagers to participate in a safe, supervised sea swimming social group and gain a valuable lifeguard qualification to build their confidence, social skills and employability.
Keep an eye on our social media channels for further information about how you can apply and help young people develop the skills they need to build a better future for themselves, and their community!