The wait is finally over! We can now reveal the lucky recipients of this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund
Developed to empower young people across the island of Ireland, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund supports projects including community, social and education programmes aimed at youth, promoting healthy, active lifestyles and environmental leadership.
Since the awards began back in 2011, the fund has donated an impressive €1,055,000 to 95 non-profit organisations around the island of Ireland.
This year’s winners were announced by Thank You Fund ambassadors Doireann Garrihy and Pete Snodden at a special award ceremony during Zeminar, Ireland’s largest youth conference.
Eight of the 12 recipient organisations received a grant of €10,000 each which will be used to develop their local project. Here’s a rundown of the lucky winners.
This group provides vital care for people who are affected by homelessness, including emergency shelters and residential services. Their new outreach project ‘Equip2Educate,’ will help young vulnerable women to develop their life skills and gain confidence through educational, therapeutic and recreational activities.
ReCreate Ireland is a social enterprise promoting sustainability. Their project ‘Plastic Planet’ will engage young adults aged 16-19 in visual arts workshops, challenging 120 young artists to creatively transform single-use plastics into new works of art. This will increase their environmental awareness and enable the group to creatively express their concerns, while offering new solutions.
Providing a complete youth theatre experience to young people living in the Mosney Direct Provision Centre, the Mosney Youth Theatre project will use the funding to develop a programme of workshops and masterclasses. Sharing skills with the local Droichead Youth Theatre in Drogheda, participants will have the opportunity to develop artistically and enjoy inspirational field trips, while also building relationships with their local peers.
Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland is a powerful community, supporting Irish people living with the condition. Their new project ‘Mind your Health’ will enable young people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus to maximise their own physical health and mental wellbeing through a life-changing, tailored education and training programme.
The gallery will deliver ‘Creative Careers,’ a new series of arts programming by young people, for young people. This project will provide new resources to enable young people of diverse backgrounds to explore careers in the arts, with the goal of inspiring and empowering the next generation through workshops, exhibitions and community partnerships.
This club provides a diverse programme of activities focused on addressing different social and economic issues in the community. They applied for funding to set up a 'Second Step' programme, aimed at achieving sustainable, positive change in the lives of marginalised young people in Monkstown, Co. Antrim.
The Mary Peters Trust - Northern Ireland's leading sporting charity - helps disabled and able-bodied young people achieve their sporting dreams and ambitions. They were awarded funding for the development of a 'Youth in Sport' conference, designed to empower the employment and educational decisions of high-level athletes.
An inclusive play and educational facility, providing a range of self-led and programmed opportunities for all, will deliver ‘Tea in the Park’ with thanks to the funding received. The goal of this project is to provide young people with disabilities and specific needs the opportunity to gain training, develop skills and participate in meaningful work placements.
An additional four organisations also received €5,000 for their innovative project ideas including: St Malachy’s OB Football Club and Albert Foundry Academy FC; Horn of Africa People's Aid Northern Ireland; Moville Family Resource Centre and Mannulla FC & Mayo Autism Camp.
For local community groups, this cash injection can be a real lifeline and make a huge difference to the lives of the people involved.
This fact was highlighted by Coca-Cola brand ambassador Doireann Garrihy. Taking to the main-stage to celebrate with the groups and reflecting on her own experience with the Fund she stated that; “I had the great privilege of meeting one of last year’s Coca-Coca Thank You Fund recipients, so I’ve seen first-hand the impact this funding can have on a local community. I was delighted to get involved with the Fund this year and it’s so rewarding to be here today to celebrate the class of 2019. One size just doesn’t fit all and by empowering these incredible local champions, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is giving them the tools to change the lives of young people in their local community. It’s cool!”
Claire Kearns, Commercial Development Manager at The Coca-Cola Company thanked all the organisations who applied for the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund this year, along with the judges who helped select the winners and highlighted that 2019 represented a milestone year for the Fund.
“It takes a village and we were so encouraged by the number of community leaders in towns and villages across the island of Ireland who took the time to enter this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. It has never been more important to invest in our future change leaders, with the funding provided through the Thank You Fund bringing projects to life that otherwise might not happen.
“We are delighted to have reached the ninth anniversary of the fund and a significant milestone as we celebrate the donation of over €1 million to nearly 100 youth-orientated non-profit organisations across the island of Ireland since 2011. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who were involved this year, as well as our distinguished panel of judges who had the impossible task of identifying the 2019 recipients.”
Find out more about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund online here.