Sparking Impact across Ireland at the National Ploughing Championships

Six Awardees of the €550,000 Ignite Fund were officially announced at the National Ploughing Championships.

Posted on Tuesday 17 September 2019 in Press Releases

17th September 2019: Social Innovation Fund Ireland, in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development and a number of private philanthropic donors, are today delighted to announce the six Awardees of the €550,000 Ignite Fund. At a special event at the 2019 National Ploughing Championships, the six inspiring projects were officially announced by Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney, also in attendance.

The Ignite Fund is a €550,000 fund created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with
several private philanthropists and the Department of Rural and Community Development. The
Department of Rural and Community Development provides match funding for all philanthropic
funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The Awardees are spread across four separate categories under the themes of ‘Empowering Families’, ‘Youth Resilience’, ‘Harnessing Ability’ and ‘Music to Impact’.

‘Empowering Families’ Awardees

  • Community & Family Services (Northside Family Resource Centre Co. Limerick)
    Northside FRC’s Community & Family Services works with children and their parents to reduce the impact of trauma, often compounded by external factors like poverty. The work will be greatly enhanced by the Ignite Fund through the recruitment of a Theraplay Therapist who will support parents to take control of their own parenting, reducing dependency on agencies and becoming their child’s ‘therapist’.
  • TLC Kidz (Barnardos Dublin)
    Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and their communities. TLC Kidz is a 12-week group evidence-informed programme for children and mothers in recovery from domestic abuse, delivered by Barnardos.

Youth Resilience Awardee
Supported by Ralph & Maureen Parkes and W2 Foundation

  • The Shona Project: Online Community, Co Waterford
    The Shona Project aims to educate, empower and inspire today’s Irish girls to become tomorrow's strong, confident and curious young women. To complement their school's programmes, they will build an online, interactive platform that provides girls with information, advice and a sense of community.

Harnessing Ability Awardee
Supported by Ralph & Maureen Parkes and W2 Foundation

  • Step Ahead (Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Dublin/Cork)
    The Step Ahead Project is a free of charge vocational assessment service that addresses the challenge of returning to paid employment or training for brain injury survivors.

Music to Impact Awardees

  • Le Chéile (Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin)
    Le Chéile is led by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in partnership with Ulster University. The project develops music ensembles for young people with disabilities using Assistive Music Technology.
  • St. Agnes’ Community Centre for Music and the Arts, Dublin
    St Agnes’ Community Centre for Music and the Arts (CCMA) is an intergenerational centre that is embedded in the Crumlin community and offers affordable access to high-quality arts Programmes . It is an intergenerational, grassroots project that aims to bring all members of the community together to enjoy affordable music classes and other music and arts activities.

Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney TD said: ‘’It makes me very proud that my Department, through the Dormant Accounts Funds, supports Social Innovation Fund Ireland in the great work they do. I am delighted to be here today to announce the six Awardees of their Ignite Fund. The initiatives each of these projects are developing are truly amazing and it’s wonderful to see them receive the recognition at today’s ceremony.”

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “Today’s Awardees come from a wide range of backgrounds and sectors in Irish society but they all have one thing in common, they’re creating meaningful social impact in communities right across the country.

From supporting children and mothers recovering from domestic abuse to creating music ensembles for young people with disabilities, each of our Awardees are already carrying out incredibly important work. With the support of the Ignite Fund, we intend to help them achieve even greater things in the months and years ahead.

I’d also like to thank our philanthropic donors for all their support to date and this fund would be nothing without them.”

Ralph & Maureen Parkes, philanthropists, and donors to the Ignite Fund said: “We are delighted to support Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Ignite Fund, especially the Youth Resilience and Harnessing Ability Awards. Each project and charity are unique in their own way and each are demonstrating a clearly positive social impact on the fabric of Irish life. Our Ignite Awardee’s who come from across Ireland, are already carrying out incredible work and, with the help of this Fund, we look forward to witnessing the great things they go on to achieve.”


Editors Notes

More info of each of the six Awardees can be supplied upon request.

Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI)
Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) is a charity created by Government, in order to establish a philanthropic fund of significant size and impact to aid the development of social innovation. Every euro raised in philanthropy is matched by a euro from the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

In 2017, SIFI met their target to raise €5 million in philanthropic funds, creating a €10 million national social innovation fund, as foreseen in the Report of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising (2012), whose recommendation created SIFI.

On the back of this, the Department of Rural and Community Development delivered on its Programme for a Government pledge to build a €50 million Social Innovation Fund in Ireland. SIFI's mission is to provide growth capital and supports to the best social innovations in Ireland, enabling them to scale and maximize their impact. Its vision is to build the world's best eco-system for social innovation in Ireland. For more information see

The Department of Rural and Community Development
The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017 to provide a renewed and consolidated focus on rural and community development in Ireland.

The consolidation into a new Department of both policy and supports in respect of community and rural development provides the means for a greater focus on creating vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities.  The Department has responsibility for ensuring arrangements for strong oversight of the charities sector through facilitating the Charities Regulatory Authority in carrying-out its independent statutory role. The Department is also at an advanced stage in developing Ireland’s first National Policy on Social Enterprise. The publication of the Policy will be the first step in providing a coherent framework and targeted supports to help the sector develop in the years ahead.