Guinness Ireland announced the Arthur Guinness Fund awardees 2010 at an awards ceremony in The Guinness Storehouse yesterday. Ten social projects received €100,000 in funding each and below is an overview of those projects -
Cormac Lynch - Camara
Cormac Lynch's project provides an elegant solution to two of the world's most intractable problems: increasing amounts of environmentally damaging waste being produced; and lack of educational resources within Africa and other disadvantaged areas.
While the last few years have seen a huge increase in re-cycling in Ireland, it is widely accepted that to protect our environment, re-using the world's dwindling resources is a superior solution to re-cycling them. Benefits of re-use include saving landfill space; averting numerous chemicals from leaching into water and the ground; preventing incineration of computer components, which creates carcinogens; and decreasing the exploitation of fossil fuel, chemical and water.
Using a sustainable social enterprise model, Camara have hubs in Dublin and Belfast where they take computers from companies and individuals to be re-used in schools in disadvantaged areas mainly in the African continent. To date Camara has re-used 15,500 Irish computers and placed them in learning centres in almost 750 schools. This equates to a Carbon saving of over 10,000 tons with an associated monetary social saving of US$430,000 (US$43 per Ct).
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Cormac is going to expand this proven model to Cork and Galway. This will increase the capacity of the organisation, and within the first year will have an associated monetary social saving of approximately $100,000. Camara will also work to change mindsets about re-use in Ireland, and seek to alter the Irish regulatory framework around re-use.
Joan Freeman - Pieta House
The average number of suicide deaths in Ireland each year is 494. The majority of people who find themselves in crisis and are suicidal are reacting to a life event. Yet because there was ‘nothing else', these people have been treated with the medical model which of course involves medication and in many cases hospitalisation. When someone is not coping with a life event, they need to learn how to cope with whatever difficulty is facing them through the help of qualified staff that will offer them a ‘Solution focused Approach' and who will walk with them on the trying journey and show them on the way, all the reasons for living rather than dying. Following a personal tragedy, Joan Freeman founded Pieta House - Ireland's first centre for the prevention of self harm and suicide. They offer an alternative, therapeutic approach to suicide by providing one to one counselling. As a community-based centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, Pieta House addresses a gap in existing services by complementing and acting as a support to other services. Referrals are received from psychiatric centres, A&E departments and GPs. Self-referral is encouraged and also referral by family members or friends who may be concerned about a loved one.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Joan aims to open an additional centre in the Cork - Kerry region, as well as rolling out a campaign entitled "Mind your Buddy" to help people recognise the symptoms of depression in friends and family members.
John P. Murphy - Speedpak Workplace Accreditation Model (WAM)
Long term unemployment was a problem in Ireland even before the
current economic difficulties. Lack of formal education is a key
barrier to progression to the workplace for those who are long term
unemployed. Leaving school without a Leaving Cert has serious
implications for employability, self confidence and self
After 7 years of working for Speedpak, a social enterprise which provides employment and training for long term unemployed people, John P Murphy has a developed a model of workplace accreditation where staff receive a qualification that is the equivalent of the leaving cert through working in the organisation. John's training programme provides real commercial work experience focusing on positive work behaviours; accredited group and individual training courses; and specialist one to one support. Having developed and piloted this model locally within Speedpak, John is now ready to bring this idea nationwide.
The WAM approach is centred on capturing current workplace learning which can be converted to a recognised educational qualification in the form of a full FETAC Award. The approach can be used in any workplace context and run in conjunction with any VEC college nationwide. The concept was originally designed to enhance the educational qualifications of people with low or no formal education, with this model education can take place in the workplace.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, John aims to drive the development of this model throughout Ireland and aims to have the programme running in 50 organisations by 2012.
"In providing formal education opportunities through the workplace
for those that have low educational attainment, WAM can help level the
playing field and in so doing will play an important role in creating a
more just society".
Colman Farrell - Suas Service Learning Programme
As we enter the 21st Century, we are faced with environmental,
social and economic challenges that are complex, global and
interdependent. We need an emerging generation in which all play their
part as creators, innovators, leaders and active citizens across all
sectors: team players who can work across disciplines, backgrounds and
cultures, individuals who are open to change, who have a social
conscience to others, near and far, now and in the future.
Colman Farrell is driving an innovative Service-Learning Programme for young Irish people (18+) that supports the development of informed, engaged active citizens across Ireland. Colman's vision is a generation of active citizens and leaders entering society and a world-class service-learning programme integrated into Third Level Education.
This service learning programme has 3 distinct components:
i) Overseas Volunteer Programme: each year 90 young adults are selected
into teams of 12, for a transformative ten week work placement as teaching assistants and coaches, in disadvantaged schools in India and Kenya, with intensive pre and post departure support and training.
ii) Suas Societies Programme: Suas have 7 student societies with 1,800
members nationwide who run an annual programme of events and activities, working as mentors, volunteers, fundraisers and event organisers, supporting community organisations in Ireland and overseas, supported by training and coaching from Suas.
iii) Inspire: Suas run events and courses to encourage people to take action and
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund Colman aims to expand the Service-Learning Programme by mainstreaming it into colleges all over Ireland.
"Suas cannot change the world alone, so we support the generation that will"
Margaret Leahy - Clar IRD
Community gardens, a well established concept in many countries, are
slowly gaining momentum in Ireland. Margaret Leahy (in conjunction with
Clar IRD, a voluntary community development organisation) is developing
a model for community gardens which could be delivered all over the
country. The chief focus of these gardens is training persons on low
incomes to grow their own vegetables and improve their diet and level
of exercise. Not only will these gardens provide employment growing
food, Margaret will add an extra dimension by creating the conditions
and culture to establish an enterprise thus creating year round jobs.
The project will be on an area of land sufficiently large to support a commercial horticulture enterprise. Workers will be selected based on their interest in growing produce and enterprise development and will include long and short term unemployed.
The project will grow and market produce on a year round basis using
tunnels and good crop management. Produce will be sold to three
1. Box system delivering fresh vegetables weekly to low income houses
2. Other social enterprises i.e. meals on wheels
3. Restaurants and fruit and vegetable shops.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Margaret will be able to launch the first community garden in Mayo this year. This model can then be transferred to other communities throughout the country. All that is needed to start is a plot of suitable land, which is available to most rural communities around Ireland. The programme utilises local people making a positive contribution to their own lives and to their communities. It will help break the cycle of unemployment and the workers will be role models within their own communities.
Caroline Casey - Kanchi
In Ireland and around the world, disability is viewed as being about need and negativity. Such a mindset has contributed to the alienation, exclusion and discrimination of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are people first; their disabilities should not define them. 9 years ago, Caroline Casey realised that nobody was talking the ‘ability' of people with disabilities. Nobody recognised that people with disabilities could be valuable to business. She believed that if businesses could see the value of disability, society would naturally follow. It was from this belief that Caroline founded Kanchi.
The O2 Ability Awards provided the platform to change the debate
around disability in society, awarding businesses for best practice in
the inclusion of people with disabilities as customers, employees and
members of the community.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Kanchi will launch a measurement tool for business, which will allow companies to simply and practically assess and track their progress in including people with disabilities at all levels of their business, as customers, employees and potential recruits.
To enable business to be the catalyst for change, they need to be informed, skilled, and supported in a way that makes business sense. When business values the disability community as customers, talent, and part of the communities they serve, disabled people will be more included, have access to products and services that provide a way of life many of us take for granted.
Using extensive research built up over 5 years of Ability Awards and based on research carried out in 2008, Caroline's idea, modelled on the "Best Companies To Work For" scheme, will help businesses to bring about this change.
Mary Nally - Fáilte Isteach
Mary Nally is the founder of the Third Age Foundation, an
organisation which supports older people to make a difference in
society. In 2006, Mary witnessed the daily difficulties that new
migrants were experiencing integrating into our community as a result
of a lack of English. Everyday activities like visiting the GP,
assisting children with homework, shopping, understanding
correspondence from schools, employers and other institutions are all
extremely difficult if comprehension or expression is limited.
In response to this lack of English amongst new migrants to Ireland, Mary developed Fáilte Isteach, a community project where older volunteers welcome new migrants to their community through conversational English classes. Mary encouraged and supported older people (members of the Third Age Foundation) to utilize their skills, talents and life-experiences to deliver free conversational English classes to new migrants based on real life situations and scenarios. Aspects of this project include assistance and advocacy for rights and entitlements, class materials and practical support.
Following the success of this project in a small rural community,
Mary launched the project nationally in 2008 so other communities could
address their local needs. Fáilte Isteach now has 16 centres in 9
counties involving 194 volunteers teaching an average of 400
non-Irish-nationals from 51 different countries every week.
Not willing to rest on her laurels, Mary plans to expand the project further until there is a Fáilte Isteach project in every town in Ireland. Funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund will go towards the further expansion of this project around the country.
Michael Kelly - GIY Ireland
With our economy in a perilous state and increasing concerns about
the quality of our food system, there is unprecedented interest in
producing our own food in back gardens, allotments and community
gardens. Unfortunately, right at the time when it would be most useful,
there is a deficit of practical expertise about growing food. As
individuals and as a society we have lost the necessary knowledge and
skills that were taken for granted a generation ago.
Michael Kelly set up GIY (Grow it Yourself) Ireland to promote and facilitate amateur food growing, to encourage people from all walks of life and of all ages to grow their own food in their home, allotment or community garden and to provide them with the practical skills they need to do so successfully.
Michael does this on three levels: (1) by promoting ‘GIYing' through the national media, (2) via a social network on www.GIYIreland.com, and (3) at a local level through GIY groups that meet in local communities. These local GIY groups aim to take the "self" out of "self-sufficiency" by getting growers together so that they can learn skills from each other and connect with like-minded individuals. GIY group activities include monthly meetings, talks and demos; garden visits, seed and seedling swaps; produce bartering, mentor panels and grower's ‘meitheals' (sharing of resources and ideas). GIY activities are free and open to people interested in food growing at all levels, i.e. from growing a few herbs on a balcony to complete self-sufficiency, from beginners to old hands.
GIY Ireland launched in September 2009 but already there are 40 GIY
groups around Ireland with an approximate membership of 2,000 people.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Michael aims to drive this
project further, with more groups, more members and more support.
"We want to create a generation of Irish people for whom home-grown food is a reality and make the meitheal mentality a central component of Irish life. We believe that the GIY movement is revolutionary and can transform Irish society."
Sarah Miller and Carrie Ann Moran - ReDiscover Fashion
Carrie Ann Moran and Sarah Miller established ReDiscover Fashion to
address growing national concerns within the fashion and textiles
industry, relating to the environmental and social impacts of
disposable clothing. Despite being a relatively easy waste stream to
recycle, an estimated 93% of all textile waste in Ireland is sent to
landfill, producing detrimental environmental effects. By recycling
textiles, we reduce these effects and the need for landfill. Textiles
present particular problems in landfill as synthetic (man-made fibres)
products will not decompose. While woollen garments do decompose, they
produce methane, which contributes to global warming.
As well as having a positive impact on the environment, this project also has social and economic benefits. As the project will generate a steady revenue stream from the sale of a 100% recycled and ethical clothing line, Carrie Ann and Sarah will be able to provide training and employment. Being a not for profit project, all revenue gained will be reinvested in training, materials and job creation. The project aims to change the way we, as a society, view recycled clothing, behave as consumers and manage textile waste.
"Mention recycled clothing and most people think about charity
shops and second-hand garments. Rediscover Fashion is about
establishing a mindset shift, raising the bar on green products and
establishing a new generation of a eco-conscious, socially aware
Sharon Vard - Anam Cara
Every year in Ireland over 2,000 families experience the death of a son or daughter. If this death occurs in a hospital or hospice setting, families will have access to bereavement support through the chaplaincy or social work departments. However this support is limited. Families who experience a sudden or unexpected death outside a hospital setting often find themselves outside the realms of any support system and struggle to make sense of their grief.
Sharon Vard founded Anam Cara (initially as a pilot project in 2006)
to support these families by providing the services and information
they need. This helps to reduce the incredible stress and torment they
go through after the death of their child. Sharon believes that the
only person who can fully comprehend the loss of a child is another
bereaved parent. The person who can best offer the bereaved parent some
hope that they will cope and find a way to live around their loss is a
bereaved parent who is a little further along their journey.
Sharon's vision is to bring these parents, in every community, together in a safe setting where they can avail of Anam Cara's services and also offer support to each other. Anam Cara services include an interactive website (where parents can access information on topics relevant to them and get details of the services in their area) a private message forum, parent-to-parent meetings, and formal and social events held at both local and national level. All services are provided at no charge to the bereaved parent.
With funding from the Arthur Guinness Fund, Sharon aims to continue the development of this organisation to provide these services all over the island of Ireland as well as developing a programme for bereaved siblings.