6 Northern Ireland Charities receive funding from the eir Fund – Connecting Communities

The eir Fund is a key initiative within eir’s CSR strategy to provide funding up to €500,000 to communities across Ireland over the next three years, enabling the company to make a positive impact in communities by providing much needed support to local charity and community causes.

The eir Fund – Connecting Communities is open for applications from all eir employees and any registered charity, NGO or organisation with charitable status whose projects are located in Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. As a direct result of the Fund, €160,000 will be evenly split across the four provinces and invested at community level each year up to 2019.

Among the charities to receive funding to date are 6 Charities in Northern Ireland:

1. The Welcome Organisation – The Welcome Organisation delivers support services and interventions to people who are rough sleeping, street drinking, begging or at risk of homelessness. The eir Fund is supporting the Welcome Organisation with the co-ordination of street outreach volunteer services to:
• improve use of resources and prevent service duplication;
• develop new and innovative ways of using volunteers to support people to move on from homelessness by developing a ‘buddy system’ to help individuals sustain tenancies, cope with isolation, re-integrate into the community and help create a broader circle of support;
• develop a transferrable skills base to improve the volunteering experience, client outcome and employability.

2. Rosie’s Trust – Rosie’s Trust supports three main groups – people who are terminally ill, cancer patients, and older people who have companion pets but are unable to look after them independently. The main aim is to keep the owner and their pet together.

3. Macmillan Cancer House – Macmillan is a constant source of support for people dealing with cancer and for the family and friends of those who have been diagnosed. The eir Fund is supporting Macmillan Cancer House by:
• helping Macmillan in providing local support services to the community in Northern Ireland;
• continuing to provide the vital services – so one must not fight cancer alone;
• assisting with vital research into cancer.

4. Tandragee Rovers – Tandragee Rovers is a local youth football team for children from the age of 4 to sixteen. The eir Fund is supporting Tandragee Rovers by providing much needed equipment – footballs, football goals, and clothing. The eir funding will also be used to help coach education and accreditation, and allow Tandragee expand their coaching set-up.

5. Search and Rescue Dog Association Ireland (SARDA) – Search and Rescue Dog Association Ireland (SARDA) is a non-profit organisation that has been assisting in searches for vulnerable and high risk missing persons for over 30 years . They provide assistance in searches in various situations and weather conditions across the UK and Ireland. SARDA Ireland North has dogs trained in mountain and lowland searches, drowned victim searches and collapsed structure searches. Funding is expected to be used on training and equipment for new volunteers, including mountain skills, REC3 trauma first aid training and equipment such as waterproof jackets and insulated garments. The funding will also be spent on the essential SAR equipment such as a Sonar device for drowned victim searches and handheld GPS for new members to name a few.

6. Just 4 Children – Just 4 Children support an initiative known as the Keep Billy Alive 2 campaign. Billy is a young boy who suffers from severe seizures. He had suffered from seizures as a young baby and has recently fallen victim to them once again. Billy’s only hope is Professor Nordli, based in Los Angeles, after being turned away from Irish and UK services. The cost of the treatment needed to save Billy is £300,000, and the family have since travelled to the US, despite not having enough funding. Funding from the eir Fund will be used to support this campaign and hold fundraisers to raise the much needed funds to pay for his treatment. Events such as bucket collections, 100-hour treadmill challenges and dinner dance auctions are being set up across the country which eir will assist in funding.

Speaking at the launch of the eir Fund – Connecting Communities, Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said: “The Government and I strongly support and advocate for Corporate Social Responsibility. The best companies should be about more than making profit and increasing shareholder value, they should also have a mission to contribute to the betterment of communities that buy their services and products, and to develop human capital by supporting the skills and personal development of their staff. Today’s announcement is proof that eir clearly understands this. I am delighted to be associated with it.

“The eir Fund helps employees to make a positive impact in their community, and helps the company to support more local causes throughout Ireland. I understand that 50 charities will benefit over three years. I welcome the fact that the eir Fund is open for applications from all eir employees and any registered charity, NGO or organisation with charitable status.”

Michelle Toner, Head of CSR, eir said, “We are committed to a CSR strategy which not only aligns with our business objectives and ensures that we are acting as a responsible and sustainable business but that more importantly allows us to support the communities across Ireland where our employees live and work. We have a presence in every community in Ireland and we want to support those communities in any way we can. The eir Fund allows us to do that in a very meaningful and tangible way.

eir has a long history of community support in Ireland. We have worked with Special Olympics Ireland for 32 years; this is the longest partnership of its type in the country. Through that relationship, we have learned invaluable lessons about the positive impact our business can make when we use our national scale to benefit a charity.

Over the past nine months we have worked with 17 not-for-profit organisations across a range of social issues including homelessness, employment and educational supports in disadvantaged areas. We have had the opportunity to meet and work with new groups that are effecting real positive change in their community every day. We’re proud to be part of their story”.

Photo (l-r): Leo Varadkar, Rowena Gillen from Rosie’s Trust and Richard Moat, CEO, eir.

Applications for the eir Fund can be made through eirFund@eir.ie