The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund has awarded €100,000 to 13 community groups across Ireland and Northern Ireland to support innovative projects that help to engage and inspire young people.

Coca-Cola Ireland has announced this year’s Thank You Fund award recipients and the successful non-profit organisations were presented with their certificates during a celebration event on the main stage at Zeminar, Ireland’s largest youth conference (RDS Dublin).

‘Unique and compelling’ projects

Seven organisations were chosen for the €10,000 grants. The judges selected these projects for larger grants as they felt that each of them were unique and compelling, and that with the €10,000 investment they could achieve sustainable impact in their communities.

The organisations that have been chosen are:

Autism Support Louth & Meath

For their project, Capacity Building through Drama & Music for young adults with Autism or Communication Difficulties.

What does this project hope to achieve?
The goal of this project is to empower and build confidence in young adults with autism to participate not only in this project but also more actively in their own local community.

Stefanie Preissner with winners from Blossom Ireland Community Inclusion and Dublin Northwest Area Partnership 

Blossom Ireland Community Inclusion

For their Teen Development Programme. This is an educational skills-based programme for teenagers with an intellectual disability.

What does this project hope to achieve?
The overall goal is for young people to leave the service, aged 20, with a clear plan about what they want to achieve, a sustainable support network and a specific set of skills and knowledge to help them achieve this.

“I have been overwhelmed by the diversity, thoughtfulness and potential impact of the projects that have received funding through the Thank You Fund”.
— Stefanie Preissner, Thank You Fund Ambassador

Children's Books Ireland

For their Family Hubs project working with young homeless teenagers.

What does this project hope to achieve?
The project aims to build a library of books to help re-engage young people in reading for pleasure. As well as this, they hope to have a Patron of Reading visit the Family Hubs in Dublin to inspire and engage these young people with books and reading.

Include Youth

For their work in helping young people to create a youth-led and youth-focused conference with a difference in Belfast.

What does this project hope to achieve?
A major goal of the event will be to bring together a committee of young people, who will be seen as ‘Experts by Experience’ and will take the lead on workshops, themes and the general running of the event.

Mary Peters Trust

For their project to help young people who excel in their sport to become Level One coaches.

What does this project hope to achieve?
Young athletes whose careers are cut short can experience mental health problems when the routine they have known for years ends. Coaching is a route to channel their passion for their sport and overcome the disappointment of not competing.

Patrician Youth Centre

For their work helping to foster diversity and inclusion among young people.

What does this project hope to achieve?
The Centre will work with an identified group of young people and shape them into volunteers of the future. Through groupwork, these young people will assess their own prejudices and how these are manifested in order to work through arising issues.

Willowfield Parish Community Association

For their Leaders in Training project.

What does this project hope to achieve?
The project has been designed to enable young people from inner-city East Belfast, an area known for its high levels of antisocial behaviour, low academic attainment and socio-economic challenges, to engage with positive leadership principles, the importance of personal development, and community ownership.

Thank You Fund Ambassador, Maser, with worthy winners from the Love and Care for People organisation

An additional six organisations will each receive €5,000 for programmes including:

  • The County Wexford Youth Film Project
  • Dublin North West Area Partnership
  • Global Action Plan
  • Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind
  • Love and Care for People
  • Northern Ireland Youth Forum

‘Amazed and in awe’

Stefanie Preissner, Thank You Fund Ambassador, says: “I have been overwhelmed by the diversity, thoughtfulness and potential impact of the projects that have received funding through the Thank You Fund. The impact of the work they do with young people has an immeasurable impact on our society.

“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 amazed and in awe of the people working in communities across the country.”

A big thank you to everyone who entered

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 to us that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund is a catalyst for new thinking and helps support the delivery of projects and schemes that otherwise might not happen.

“We are 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.

“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter and specifically to congratulate those who were successful. I particularly look forward to next year when we will reach a significant milestone in the Thank You Fund as we celebrate giving over €1 million in funding to non-profits since 2011.”

Transforming lives

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland. Sabina Cotter, Head of Grants and Programmes, Irish Youth Foundation says 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 in programmes that support their passions,” she said.

“All the successful projects are designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in their lives and address young people’s needs at a grassroots level.”

€955k invested since 2011

By investing in community groups that specifically target young people, Coca-Cola Ireland is aiming to support those who provide targeted interventions for young people, helping to keep them interested in certain activities or providing supports and networks that help them to make the right decisions as they move from teenage years to young adulthood.

Since the Thank You Fund was launched in 2011, it has invested a total of €955k in community groups and non-profit organisations throughout the island of Ireland.   

Read more about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.