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€50 million fund to be created for best solutions to Ireland’s social issues

Social Innovation Fund Ireland 1

June 05, 2018

On 17th May, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Kyne T.D. announced the Irish Government’s commitment to match private philanthropic donations raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland.

Minister of State Seán Kyne T.D. said, “I am proud to announce significant support for Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s ground breaking work. In just three years, they have demonstrated that Ireland’s communities are innovating to tackle the social issues that affect them, and that with grant funds and business supports, they can grow and spread.”

“For example, this year CareBright opened Ireland’s first purpose-built community for people living with dementia, Carebright Village in Bruff, Co. Limerick. This model was first developed in the Netherlands and will enable people living with dementia in rural Ireland to live just like they would in their own homes, but with extra supports,’’ he added.

“And COPE Galway have developed an innovative fresh meal product which caters for the dietary needs of our ageing population, something which is not currently being catered for outside of hospitals and nursing homes, enabling older people with specific dietary needs to live at home.’’

“Social innovation has a key role to play at a national and community level in supporting healthy and inclusive communities. Fulfilling this Programme for Government commitment has been a key priority for me since my appointment last year,” he added.

Deirdre Mortell, CEO of Social Innovation Fund Ireland said, “The announcement enables Social Innovation Fund Ireland to build a €50 million national social innovation fund that will impact every community in Ireland. This new national fund will enable Social Innovation Fund Ireland to provide larger and longer grants to innovations that have already proven their ability to make transformative impact. It places Ireland in a better position to tackle social issues faster and with more lasting impact.

Social innovations are needed now more than ever. Just as innovation is important to economic growth, we believe that innovation is critical to solving Ireland’s social issues.”

Since 2015, Social Innovation Fund Ireland has raised €12 million in funding, 50% from private philanthropy and 50% from Government. We have partnered with companies such as, Medtronic, Mason Hayes & Curran, IPB Insurance, as well as SME’s, foundations, trusts and private individuals.

To date Social Innovation Fund Ireland has backed 31 social innovations all around the country, including Intercultural Language Service, a language learning centre which empowers socially excluded migrants; iScoil, an online learning community that offers early school leavers an alternative path to education; and The ALONE Platform which uses technology, apps, and sensors, combined with befriending volunteers to support older people to live at home longer.

Over the past three years, Social Innovation Fund Ireland has opened eleven issue-based funds supporting initiatives to build resilient communities, healthy communities, and tackling issues such as youth mental health, educational disadvantage, and equality. With this national fund, it plans to create many more -  including funds that address issues such as homelessness, climate change, rural decline, and education.

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For further information contact

Anne Derody, Business Development Director at or 087 259 3884.

Padraic Vallely, Business Development Manager at or 085 126 1085.

Notes to the Editor:

What is social innovation? Social innovations are innovations that are social in their end or in their means. A special focus is placed on innovative solutions to critical social issues here in Ireland.

About Social Innovation Fund Ireland:

Social Innovation Fund Ireland is a charity created by the Government, in order to establish a philanthropic fund of significant size and impact to aid the development of social innovation. The organisation’s mission is to provide growth capital and supports to the best social innovations in Ireland, enabling them to scale and maximise their impact.

Board members include: Terence O’Rourke (Chair), John Higgins, Caitriona Fottrell, Gareth Morgan, Shane Deasy, Alf  Smiddy, and Dalton Philips.

About 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 and sustainable communities.  The Department also 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.


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