herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Changing charity

If you think that taking a trip on Dublin Bus and not claiming back your change receipt is just money lost, then think again.

Each year Dublin Bus, through its Community Support Programme (CSP), gathers all that spare change and divides it out to deserving charities and organisations in the greater Dublin area. We profile the last four of the 10 winners of €5,000 and ask what effect it had on their organisation.

CROSSCARE CARER SUPPORT PROGRAMME, DRUMCONDRA

It is estimated that there are around 28,000 young carers in Ireland aged from six up to 18. Project leader with the Crosscare Carer Support Programme (CCSP) in Drumcondra, Nora Kirrane, says these children are providing both primary and secondary care to a family member who may be suffering from depression, disability or an illness.

"We applied for funding to run a series of classes within the school system to offer support and guidance to young carers, and also bring awareness to staff and pupils that there may be young carers among them who haven't yet been identified."

With the money received from Dublin Bus, CCSP were able to collaborate with Colaiste Eoin in Finglas and Tony McGuirk, manager of the Young Carers Project in Northern Ireland, to set up workshops.

"We were also able to fund a City of Dublin youth worker to train with Tony McGuirk so they can identify young carers earlier. That alone has made a huge difference to us."

SCOIL CHOLMCILLE SENIOR NATIONAL SCHOOL

Scoil Cholmcille is a mainstream school in Donaghmede which has an early intervention unit for up to 18 children with autism.

"We applied for an award of €5,000 to build a multi-sensory environment consisting of a soft play area and sensory area," explains Annette O'Brien, principal of Scoil Cholmcille.

Winning the award was a fantastic boost for the school. "The impact was massive," Annette explains. "The Department of Education gave us funding for the building but the special equipment, required to both calm and stimulate children with autism, is very expensive. With the money from Dublin Bus we were able to do all this."

The centre opened in June this year.

ST KEVIN'S FAMILY RESOURCE CENTRE

St Kevin's Family Resource Centre is based in Tallaght and provides a range of opportunities for people living in the area. As part of its Integrated Arts Youth Project it applied to the Dublin Bus CSP for funding to establish a youth arts group to create high-quality, multi-disciplinary artwork by collaborating with professional artists. The aim of the project was to change how people think, to support young people with disabilities and to increase access to and knowledge of the arts for all young people.

"With the €5,000 we received from Dublin Bus we were able to run a programme from last October to May of this year with young people aged 16 to 19 who have disabilities," says co-ordinator Grainne Begley.

The funding also enabled the project to provide transport and personal assistance support for young people with disabilities so they could participate equally with other members of the group.

Grainne adds: "There is a large group of people supporting this project and whose hard work and dedication made it possible.

"They include the young people themselves, their parents, youth workers, collaborating artists and volunteers."

THE DALES CENTRE

The Dales Centre in Darndale was established in 1993 to support individuals and families who have been impacted by drug misuse. Last year they established a grandparent support group for those for whom suicide, death or legal issues have resulted in them rearing their grandchildren.

"We realised that the grandparents badly needed time out from their immediate issues. The problem was we had no funding," says Irene O'Reillly, director of services. "We applied for funding and were awarded €5,000. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to help these grandparents."

With the money received The Dales were able to organise a respite weekend in Donegal where the grandparents met members of the Seeds of Hope, a peace and reconciliation group.

"The grandparents were able to share experiences with those members which, in turn, facilitated them talking to each other in a neutral setting. It was incredibly emotional for them but also gave them a sense of empowerment."

A knock-on effect of the funding was the setting up of A Way Forward week. The first event is a Commemoration of Hope service at which the grandparents will be an integral part.

Irene adds, "We could not have done this without the support of the CSP. It has been wonderful for us!"

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