Social Innovation Fund Ireland announced the Awardees of their 2019 Children and Youth Funds at a special awards ceremony today. Three DCU projects are included amongst the 14 awardees of the €9.5 million fund, which is made up of 50% private philanthropic funding, self-raised by 14 Awardees. The other half of the fund is supported by the Government of Ireland, through the Dormant Accounts Fund.
The 2019 Children and Youth Funds, which include 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.
The three DCU projects that will receive support include:
● DCU Access to the Workplace, a bespoke student summer work placement programme that offers fully paid, professional work experience in leading Irish companies for DCU Access students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
● DCU Changemaker Network, which identifies, celebrates, expands and refines the unique attributes of schools, which are successful in creating systemic change in education.
● DCU FUSE Primary Programme, an anti-bullying and online safety programme for primary school students developed by DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the three DCU project heads explained how this philanthropic support will enable the projects to enhance and expand their work to transform lives and societies.
Speaking on the support for DCU Access to the Workplace, Cathy McLoughlin, Head of the DCU Access Service said:
“We are delighted to receive this award which will enable us to grow Access to the Workplace over the next three years and to provide a valuable additional support to enhance the social mobility of DCU Access students. Thanks to Social Innovation Fund Ireland, we will be able to increase the number of placements we can offer to students who would otherwise lack the familial and professional networks to secure similar work experience."
Speaking regarding the DCU Changemaker Network, Anne Looney, Dean of the DCU Institute of Education stated:
“The support of Social Innovation Fund Ireland will enable DCU Institute of Education to continue the work begun by Ashoka Ireland in its innovative Changemaker Schools project. The new network - to be known as the DCU Changemaker Network - will connect these schools with researchers and opportunities for professional learning that will support the further development and dissemination of local innovations. It will also mean that the network will be able to connect globally with other Changemaker projects.”
In relation to the DCU FUSE Primary Programme, Professor James O’Higgins Norman, Director of DCU’s National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre remarked:
“This award will allow us to extend our work on tackling bullying and online safety into primary schools, which is important because we know from research that these problems are an increasing reality for young children.”
The three DCU projects, together with the other 11 Awardees, will 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.
The Awards announced today represent a significant endorsement of the work undertaken by these projects to date, and highlight their potential to be replicated across Ireland with a view to creating real systemic change in the communities they are supporting.