Begin Together Fund
Begin Together Fund
The Begin Together Community Fund, in partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, supports Social Enterprises, Charities, and Not-For-Profit Groups working to build foster inclusion and develop capability among vulnerable groups in our communities.
The 2023 round of grants has now been awarded to 20 initiatives that will make a real difference to people across Ireland.
Details of all the successful 2023 projects can be found below:
- AK Inspired CLG
The project aims to equip individuals with intellectual disabilities to pursue employment opportunities. Participants will engage in a biodiversity project that involves producing natural honey and beeswax candles, while enabling them to activity participate in climate change while build awareness around inclusion. By gaining hands-on experience, they will increase their chances of securing meaningful and sustainable employment. Through their active involvement beneficiaries will experience a sense of empowerment and increased independence and will gain confidence and greater sense of self-worth and autonomy. It also promotes social inclusion by providing a platform for beneficiaries to engage with the community and showcase their abilities. Their participation in community events, educational workshops, and awareness campaigns will challenge stigmas and stereotypes, fostering a more inclusive and accepting society.
Cara-Friend will provide an LGBTQIA+ Helpline and Mental Health and Mindfulness support programme for older LGBTQIA+ individuals. It will leverage best practice, building on 50 years’ experience of operating an LGBTQIA+ helpline in the UK and Ireland and extend an existing mental health and mindfulness project which has been running for young people, to older LGBTQIA+ people. This will encourage members of the LGBTQIA+ community to be proactive in promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing and tackle the contributing factors of self-harm and suicide
- Citywise Education
Citywise Means Business seeks to empower people from an early age with the skills, competencies and information necessary to take control of their own Financial Wellbeing. Citywise is at the heart of the community of West Tallaght and has almost 30 years ’experience in providing impactful supports to young people in a fun and engaging way. This year we’ll expand out the Citywise Means Business project to include a pilot third-level aspect of the programme, with an emphasis on life-long learning. The project supports young people with educational resources to assist in improving their financial wellbeing and in terms of managing their finances. In doing so, it will increase the capacity of individuals, through the provision of information, skills and increased confidence. It will increase financial literacy, capacity and confidence while inculcating aspects of social enterprise to transform the knowledge of financial concepts in young people.
- Involve CLG
The Involve CLG/Travellers’ Voice podcast is an unfiltered exploration of the rich culture, history, challenges, and achievements of the Traveller Community in Ireland. The impact of this project will be to instil a sense of pride and celebrate the achievements of the whole Traveller community, while providing information regarding Traveller culture and identity to non-Travellers with the aim of supporting the wider community to be more inclusive of members of the Traveller community. It is envisioned that the podcast training will provide skills that may lead to future employment opportunities for Irish Travellers.
- Pocket Forests CLG
We will create three biodiverse Pocket Forests projects with communities of recently-housed and homeless people to make wellbeing spaces in the grounds of temporary and permanent housing. Our model enables people of all ages and abilities to participate in the creation of the forests, making the best of small dead spaces, empowering nature-deprived communities to create areas of biodiversity can build a sense of community and belonging. Every homeless individual is an individual but there can be a shared experience of chaos and loss of control. Creating a thriving ecosystem on the doorstep can be an antidote to that trauma, creating places of healing and havens for humans and wildlife alike.
- Young Social Innovators
Ignite Community Programme has been developed to enable marginalized young people to engage with social issues and inequality in their communities. Through the development of innovation/entrepreneurial skills and collaboration with new connections, young people are challenged and given a voice to create solutions to issues of concern for a better future. Ignite Community Programme will offer opportunities in Cork and Galway for young people to have constructive dialogue around opportunities and challenges facing them through social innovation and enterprise. This innovative approach provides a bespoke and fully inclusive learning experience for young people providing essential skills to solve the social and environmental issues they face. It will provide practical lifelong learning, new 21st century skills, social innovation and entrepreneurship knowledge which in turn will enable them to better understand the inequalities, assets and shared values across not just their communities but those of others
Community Groups and Charities
- Advice NI
Advice NI’S Digi Wellbeing programme aims to support the mental and financial wellbeing of people with experience of the asylum / immigration system through access to technology so they can go online and access their rights and entitlements
Digi Wellbeing will support 45 vulnerable migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and enable them access technology so they can improve their mental and Financial Wellbeing and inclusion by accessing their rights and entitlements. The project will help build financial resilience and mental wellbeing. Participants will be more confident and capable to access information and engage in and access services and entitlements online. Advice NI’s accredited volunteer Digital Champions, many of whom have lived experience of the asylum or immigration system, and speak a language in addition to English, will deliver 5 Digi Wellbeing courses.
The AsIAm Careers Clinic Programme will provide support to Autistic people to gain employment building capacity of Autistic people who are seeking sustainable employment. It will empower Autistic people by providing free access to a Careers Clinic, building capacity to navigate the world of work, identify employment opportunities and succeed in recruitment processes. Open to participants across Ireland, it provides both group-based and individual support, recognising the unique needs of every participants. The programme is mapped to broader AsIAm employment and support programmes allowing for post-participation support.
- Autism Support Louth & Meath
Our project Nourish & Navigate will empower autistic individuals by teaching essential skills in eating well, budgeting effectively, and cooking nutritious meals. It includes practical cooking lessons, financial literacy workshops, and holistic wellbeing sessions. Participants develop vital life skills that promote resilience and capability. We recognise the importance of mental health and will incorporate sessions focused on emotional wellbeing. By addressing mental health alongside food and financial education, Nourish & Navigate enhances overall wellbeing and resilience. Financial literacy workshops teach budgeting skills, empowering participants to manage their resources effectively. By equipping vulnerable individuals with knowledge and skills in meal planning, preparation, and budgeting, Nourish & Navigate promotes independence. Participants gain confidence in making healthier choices and managing their finances, fostering a sense of empowerment and self-determination and building resilience and capability.
This programme will work to improve the resilience, capability and confidence of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees through capacity building and community education initiatives. We will develop and implement a tailored programme of classes and workshops covering language, literacy and personal development. These will be co-designed with the target beneficiaries to meet their specific needs.
The programme will focus on addressing the priority needs of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, including (but not limited to) pre-beginner English language skills; reading/writing; basic computer and digital literacy skills; household budgeting skills; cultural awareness; and confidence-building.
The design and development of the programme will be informed by our evidence-base and experience of working with the target groups. In our experience, there is a need to provide targeted skills and personal development training that takes account of their unique needs. A key aim is to enable and empower people to engage with mainstream service provision.
Depaul will seek to provide support for our service users in growing their resilience as well mental and financial wellbeing through expansion of our existing Peer Advocate programme with a specific focus on life skills. Becoming homeless is a hugely traumatic experience and many service users have complex backgrounds, traumas and issues resulting in them having undeveloped critical and base life skills needed to achieve success. We aim to address root causes of poor mental and financial wellbeing by supporting them to learn critical life skills, empowering them to remove obstacles in the way of their success. Depaul provides bespoke services, tailored to the needs of each individual, as such this programme would meet individuals where they are at and provide them with the level of support they require and are comfortable with. In turn, facilitating them obtaining life skills, positively impacting their long term mental and financial well-being outcomes.
Resilience programme will aim to improve mental and financial wellbeing of service users, strategies for coping with anxiety, skills on managing social and public participation, societal stigma and self-stigma.
- Disability Federation of Ireland
Disability Federation of Ireland has co-developed an education programme on disability awareness, equality and inclusion. This programme is aiming to improve the mental wellbeing, resilience and capability of people with disabilities by enabling them to be the co-developers of a training module that will be aimed at all areas of society both in the public and private sector to enhance disability awareness, equality and inclusion. As part of this project we wish to bring together a group of 12 people with lived experience of disability who will lead the development of a training programme that the group will go onto deliver as co-trainers in a paid format. The actual project will deliver a training manual developed by persons with disabilities and written by a researcher who has lived experience of disability.
- Dublin AIDS Alliance (HIV Ireland)
This initiative will provide psychosocial support and build resilience among people living with HIV in Ireland. The service is aimed at people living with HIV and in particular those from vulnerable and marginalised backgrounds including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men [LGBTI+ category], transgender and non-binary people [LGBTI+ category], people from a migrant background, refugees and asylum seekers [including refugees as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine], sex workers, people who inject drugs, and others. The programme will continue to provide counselling and psychological support to PLHIV, particularly those newly diagnosed, and a clinical oversight mechanism for counsellors. A supplementary 8-week pilot
- Embrace FARM
The Journey Ahead project aims to support individuals within the farming community who have experienced a sudden loss or injury by offering practical resources to address mental and financial wellbeing challenges. It is a powerful initiative focused on the mental and financial wellbeing of vulnerable individuals in the farming community. With a clear mission to grow resilience and capability, the project addresses the unique challenges faced by those who have suffered in the aftermath of a sudden loss or injury on a farm. By providing practical resources, the project aims to empower farm families to navigate their journey towards financial and emotional recovery. The project recognises the profound impact on mental health and financial stability, offering tailored support to those affected. Through counselling and peer support groups, the project attends to the emotional toll of grief and trauma. Simultaneously, it equips individuals with essential financial tools, including budgeting guidance, insurance claim support, and compensation navigation. By combining mental and financial wellbeing initiatives, the project empowers vulnerable families and individuals to regain control and rebuild their lives.
- Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative
The project uses FRCI’s craft and gardening resources to enable individuals to begin the process of feeling good within themselves, which ultimately leads to an improvement in mental wellbeing. As we work through delivery, workshops will be incorporated to enable individuals to assess their Financial Wellbeing and FRCI will use the feedback from participants to arrange suitable workshops to meet the needs of the groups. The main focus of delivery will be based around creating greenwood furniture from locally sourced fallen trees or cut- offs from tree management in our crafts area. This will be supplemented by the growing of vegetables in planter boxes, which is a skill that can be transferred to individual homes.
- Hill Street Family Resource Centre
Hill Street Family Resource Centre plans on providing key worker support, one day per week, for 12 months. The key worker will provide support to families, building their capacity to understand their rights in relation to education, training, employment, health and wellbeing. We will provide hands-on support to enable them to access relevant supports and services in the community. This will include making initial contact and where necessary accompanying them to appointments with relevant services, making referrals, supporting and building capacity to complete application forms, such as transfer of qualifications, setting up bank accounts, accessing PPS numbers, accessing mental and physical health supports, for themselves and their children and accessing translation services where required.
This project will work with marginalised women from migrant and refugee backgrounds to improve their financial and mental wellbeing. The project will have three modules: Group-facilitated learning delivered in person by an expert financial consultant on financial literacy while an online course will be available to those unable to travel. Secondly a strengths-based wellbeing course to increase resilience, reduce stress and enhance coping skills will be delivered in addition to a group-facilitated learning targeting focused on entrepreneurship, self-employment or social enterprise. Group-facilitated learning creates a stronger sense of community and inclusion, reduces stress and decreases feelings of isolation. We will promote mental, financial and emotional well-being through problem-sharing, problem-solving and peer learning in group settings
- North West Migrants Forum
North West Migrants Forum will aim to improve the social, financial and mental wellbeing of people seeking international protection (asylum seekers) people granted international protection (refugees) and migrant families. The key objective is to provide effective person-centred support to improve health and wellbeing of families and individuals, building capacity in the community, providing the information and strategies they need to make informed choices to have the best start in life here. By working together with experts and experienced facilitators in the fields of mental Health and Financial wellbeing we aim to support families to be active participants in managing their health and wellbeing, promote financial inclusion, tackle inequalities and underlying contributory factors. The community of people seeking international protection and those granted international protection are particularly challenged with financial and mental health issues. Their mental and financial health need to be considered in an informed and culturally consciousness manner
- St. Gabriel's Foundation
St. Gabriel’s Foundation intends to provide financial support services to parents and carers of children diagnosed with a disability. Many of the families we work with struggle with finances and come from areas of extremely high deprivation. The cost of living crisis and the additional costs associated with caring for a child with a disability add further financial pressure. Our project involves 3 strands of financial support services to improve financial wellbeing: One to one counselling to help parents manage stress and anxiety caused by financial worries and provide them with the confidence to take steps to independently manage their finances. Group financial wellbeing workshops where parents can learn practical information around personal e.g. budgeting approaches, debt management, savings. Drop in clinics to provide one-to-one tailored support and coaching for parents. This will include providing information about what grants/financial aid parents are able to avail of to support them as carers.
- Waterford Integration Services
Waterford Integration Services will deliver mentoring for Mental Health and Financial Wellbeing Programme for Migrant Women. Waterford Integration Services has identified the strong link between racism, inequality and mental wellbeing for migrant communities. We want to overcome this racial inequality by offering a mentorship programme that addresses the impacts of discrimination on those who are most affected in society when trying to access education and employment opportunities. The mentorship programme focuses on creating safe spaces for those applying for jobs and other opportunities through understanding and dismantling barriers of access, and challenging dominant institutional and systemic power structures in our community