The winning recipients of this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, six of whom are from Northern Ireland, have been announced.
The Fund, which totalled €130,000, was launched this year in partnership with YouthAction Northern Ireland and the Irish Youth Foundation to find youth groups across the island of Ireland with project ideas that foster self-esteem, confidence, well-being and leadership in young people.
The overall winner, Extern Limerick and its ‘Jumping Hurdles Horse Project’ will receive the top prize of €30,000 while 12 other groups including the six from Northern Ireland will receive grants of either €5,000 or €10,000.
Those from Northern Ireland who have been awarded €10,000 grants include Co-operation Ireland from Belfast who run the Legacy Youth Leadership Programmes and Drake Music Project from Newry who will facilitate young people with disabilities in music workshops.
€5,000 grants have been allocated to Orchardville Society from Belfast, with the aim of enhancing the leadership skills of its User Forum comprised of users with intellectual disabilities; Cushendall Development Group for the provision of specialist training to young people; Antrim Youth Information and Counselling Centre which will deliver a Health and Wellbeing Programme and Cedar Foundation from Belfast, for the implementation of a recruitment and training programme for disabled young people.
Speaking at an event for the winners, campaign ambassador and Cool FM presenter Pete Snodden said: “I have loved being part of the Thank You Fund and hearing about all the unique and creative youth projects that will benefit from this funding from Coca-Cola. Providing our young people with life skills and the confidence to pursue their passions is a cause very close to my heart and I’m excited to see these projects come to fruition over the coming months.”
June Trimble, MBE, Director of YouthAction also said, “I want to say a huge congratulations to all the groups for their work in developing these winning project ideas, each of which demonstrated the potential to empower young people. Our youth need support to reach their full potential and these projects will play a vital role in helping them become contributors and leaders in society. Through the work of the Fund, a wealth of new programmes and projects will come into existence that will have a very real impact on the local community, and that’s something we are pleased to have been a part of.”
Matthieu Seguin, General Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland and Ireland, thanked all the organisations who entered the Fund this year and also the judges who helped determine the winners.
“We are so grateful to our distinguished panel of judges who met all our shortlisted groups and had the difficult task of determining who was to receive funding. The response we received to the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund in 2016 was the strongest in some years, which shows that the appetite and enthusiasm is there for helping our young people fulfil their potential. Thank you to everyone who entered the Fund this year – the contribution you make in the lives of young people every day across local communities is immensely valued,” he said.
More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.