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Monday, 27th July 2020

Local community groups to benefit from Bank of Ireland Begin Together Fund

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Outcomers Drogheda, The Red Door Project, Autism Support Louth & Meath and SOSAD are among 116 projects nationwide that are to receive support from Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Fund.

The financial support will help local community groups and non-profit organisations continue to serve their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The beneficiaries will each receive up to €5,000 to support a range of projects and initiatives spanning mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing.

Bank of Ireland is working with The Community Foundation for Ireland, which is administering the fund, and a number of expert partners – the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Sport Ireland, Action Mental Health and Sport NI – who assisted in developing the fund’s focus and social impact objectives. 

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Paula Harmon, Head of Bank of Ireland for Louth, said: “The aim of the Begin Together Fund, launched back in February which seems a lifetime ago now, is to support charities and community organisations that are making a real difference to the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of their communities.

"As society begins to open up again it’s important to remember that charities and community groups have seen their income severely impacted by COVID-19 but the work they do is more important than ever. For that reason I’m delighted that the Begin Together Fund is providing this timely support for these Louth projects.”

Outcomers Drogheda is an independent, support organisation providing a confidential drop-in space, information, integration and advocacy for LGBTQ+ adults in the Drogheda area.

The funding will support a series of bi-monthly information evenings for the local LGBTQ+ community to support their mental and physical wellbeing. Topics will include ‘Wellbeing and Resilience’, ‘Transgender Information and Support’,’ LGBTQ+ Family Information Sessions’, ‘LGBTQ+ Sexual Health Information’, ‘Hate Crime’, and ‘Information LGBTQ+ Asylum’. This programme will provide valuable knowledge and support the community’s mental and physical wellbeing.

SOSAD provides free counselling and support to those who are suicidal, self-harming, bereaved by suicide or suffering with depression. SOSAD has five locations in the north-east of the country and a 24-hour helpline.

The funding is supporting the “DBT Informed Skills Group” which will involve counsellors delivering dialectical, behaviour therapy in a weekly group setting.

This kind of therapy has been found to be particularly effective for some people including those with acute issues, equipping them with fundamental life skills.

Autism Support Louth and Meath is a self-help, support group, formed by parents of children with autism in 2002, in order to provide an appropriate education for their children. The group founded the Drogheda ABACAS Special School for children with autism in 2003, and currently provides support including a helpline, information and advocacy services and training.

The Begin Together funding will support a ‘Fitness Friends’ project which will enable participants with autism to take part in a variety of different activities each week.

Many children with autism experience difficulties participating in physical activity and a bespoke programme will alleviate this, supporting their physical and mental wellbeing.

The Red Door Project offers assistance and rehabilitation services to individuals and families in the community who experience drug and or alcohol addictions.

The Project wants to introduce a ‘Reduce the Use Programme’ for those who attend their drop-in centre and for people referred from other community organisations. This is a 10-week programme, facilitated by two professional counsellors, and will give participants the opportunity to address their social and addiction behaviours in a safe and trusting environment. Follow-up sessions and a care plan will also be made available, to sustain the impact of the programme.

A full list of 2020 grantees is available here: https://personalbanking.bankofireland.com/begin-together-fund/

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