Ireland’s Youth Sector gets €9.5 Million boost from Social Innovation Fund Ireland

The 2019 Children and Youth Funds will support 14 projects in Education and Mental Health addressing the most prevalent issues facing young people in Ireland today.

19th February 2020: Social Innovation Fund Ireland, today announced the Awardees of their 2019 Children and Youth Funds at a special awards ceremony in Trinity Business School, Dublin. Worth €9.5 million, the Fund is made up of 50% private philanthropic funding, self-raised by 14 Awardees. The other half is supported by the Government of Ireland, through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The 2019 Children and Youth Funds, which includes the Children and Youth Education Fund and the Children and Youth Mental Health Fund, were designed to support projects addressing the most prevalent issues facing young people and children in Ireland today.

Lynn Ruane, Independent Senator said: ‘Like Social Innovation Fund Ireland, I believe that talent is equally distributed across the population, but getting access to quality education, and the social and mental health supports needed to enable equal access and equal opportunity for young people right across Ireland can be a postcode lottery. These projects will make a huge contribution to addressing this, and I look forward to keeping track of them as they develop.’

The Awardees each receive a multi-year grant and will also be awarded a place on Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s ‘Game-Changer’ Programme which includes training, capacity building and participation in a three year academic evaluation. Proving and improving their impact, these projects have strong potential to be replicated across Ireland
with a view to creating real systemic change in the communities they are supporting.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “At Social Innovation Fund Ireland, we believe that good mental health and succeeding in education are a virtuous circle – they drive each other. We all know that good mental health enables us to learn, and succeeding at learning improves our mental health. Today’s Awardees have developed innovations that support children and young people to make the most of the opportunities they have, and increase opportunities for marginalised young people. We want to support them to scale and spread to other communities that need them. The Children and Youth Funds will also contribute to Ireland’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals which is a powerful global initiative set out by the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.”

First Fortnight, a creative arts programme which aims to create an open discussion and understanding of mental health problems through the arts, was one of the Awardees announced on the day. This Fund will support the
programme to set up a new service targeting children experiencing homelessness and will also increase the services they’re able to provide by adding three therapists to their team.

Other Awardees include Technological University Dublin’s Access to Apprenticeships programme, which addresses high youth unemployment in disadvantaged communities by preparing and progressing young women and men from these communities into craft apprenticeships. Bobby Maher, Access to Apprenticeship Programme Manager, Technological University Dublin, said: ‘To be announced as one of the Children and Youth Education Fund Awardees today is a fantastic endorsement of all the work that has gone into developing the Access to Apprenticeship programme to date. We have big plans for the future of this programme, we can see the positive impact it is making in the lives of young people, and it’s wonderful to have Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s support to help us realise our ambitions and vision going forward.’