Lakers Social & Recreational Club in Co Wicklow is among 68 community projects to receive financial support from Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together programme in 2022.
In total, €500,000 is being allocated to groups across the island of Ireland in year three of the fund, delivered in partnership with the Community Foundation for Ireland.
This will bring the total value of grants issued via the Community Fund to €1.5M since 2020.
The Fund is one strand of the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme, a three-year, €4 Million initiative to support community groups, local enterprise and the arts across the island of Ireland.
The Community Fund aims to support initiatives that are improving the financial, mental, or physical wellbeing with initiatives receiving up to €20,000 each for projects spanning financial literacy and wellbeing, mental health, disability, inclusion and diversity and social isolation.
Laura Lynch, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank of Ireland, said: “We’re immensely proud to support a wide range of community groups, charities, and social enterprises working across Ireland. What they do unites, supports and protects local communities and the most vulnerable in society.
“Communities across Ireland still face many challenges. At this time, we are acutely aware of the pressure on resources of community groups, and notably those supporting migrant groups, like Together-Razem, who, along with their existing range of counselling and educational supports, are providing urgent assistance to Ukrainian refugees. It’s our hope that support from the Begin Together Fund will help them continue to provide the practical financial counselling and education that is vital to the wellbeing of the communities that they support.”
Together-Razem – provides financial counselling, education and supports in native languages for Polish, Romanian and Ukrainian immigrants – have been recipients of the Begin Together Community Fund since its inception. The 2022 Begin Together grant will benefit a new financial education project taking place over 14 weeks.
Agnieszka Wozniak of Together-Razem said: “At Together-Razem, our primary objective is to improve the quality of life of the Polish and other Eastern European migrants in Ireland. Our approach is culturally sensitive and we provide a wide range of services within four key areas: Education, mental health, integration and advice.
“We have been working tirelessly for over 15 years helping those who struggle with such issues as poverty, exclusion, exploitation, loneliness or mental health. None of this would be possible without support from organisations such as The Community Foundation for Ireland and initiatives like Begin Together. It is absolutely invaluable especially now that we are heavily involved in helping the Ukrainian people.”
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland, added: “The Bank of Ireland Community Fund is transforming lives, often when people are experiencing greatest need. We believe in equality for all in thriving communities. It is an ambitious goal but one, which through initiatives like the Community Fund, is achievable.
“The impact we have seen since the fund was first established has been extraordinary, particularly when you consider that it was providing support with the backdrop of the pandemic. The Community Foundation for Ireland values its partnership with Bank of Ireland and looks forward to working together into the future for the betterment of all our communities.”