14 February 2022
By Tom Collins
Closing deadline extended out to Wednesday 23rd February – Over 200,000 young people impacted through last year’s Fund – 8 in 10 youth clubs have seen an increase in the number of young people needing their services in the wake of the pandemic
The deadline for the Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund has been extended by one week out to Wednesday 23rd February allowing more time for youth groups located in Cork to apply. Established in 2020 in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation (IYF), the Fund is dedicated to supporting young people’s health and wellbeing.
The Vhi Health & Wellbeing Fund aims to support projects that are seeking to strengthen resilience in young people and help them manage anxiety. Last year, 11 youth focused organisations across the country were awarded grants for projects focused on strengthening resilience and helping young people manage anxiety. When each of the funded projects are completed, it is expected that over 200,000 young people will be impacted through the initiatives.
In Cork Carrigaline Family Support Centre and Youth Work Ireland were grant recipients last year. Carrigaline Family Support Centre was awarded a grant for their six-week programme ‘Chillax’ which was designed to provide young people with a mindfulness, skills-based anxiety management programme to equip participants with coping skills which can be applied daily in real life situations. Youth Work Ireland Cork created ‘Sort It’, a nine-week trauma informed cognitive skills development programme for young people to help build resilience and manage anxiety.
The emphasis this year continues to be on supporting programmes focused on early intervention and prevention for young people. It is open to applications from non-profit and charitable organisations who work directly with young people or with adults who surround them. Grants of €5K and €10K will be available through the Fund.
The launch of the Fund comes at a time when research shows that almost two-thirds of youth organisations have seen a reduction in funding streams following the impact of Covid-19. At the same time, eight in ten youth clubs are experiencing an increase in the number of young people needing their services in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The research, undertaken by the Irish Youth Foundation late last year, also highlights the overall importance of health and wellbeing focused programmes, with nine in ten organisations saying that wellbeing initiatives are very important for the young people that avail of their services. However, over 70% of clubs say they don’t have access to appropriate health and wellbeing supports or programmes for young people, and almost half say they expect to reduce the number of programmes they will run in the short-term due to lack of funding.
Commenting on the Fund, Dr David Morris, Head of Wellness at Vhi said: “At Vhi, our mission is to help our customers live longer, stronger, healthier lives but we also want our local communities to have the opportunity to achieve this goal too. We first launched this fund in 2020 at a critical time for youth sector – particularly those living in disadvantaged circumstances – at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland. Working with our partners at the Irish Youth Foundation, we awarded grants early last year to eleven projects around the country that are seeking to strengthen resilience in young people and help them manage anxiety.
“This year, we are delighted to be launching the Fund again to help a further number of projects around the country gain access to vital funding to support young people’s health. Now, more than ever, as Covid -19 continues to impact our lives and communities, it is critically important that young people have access to health and wellbeing initiatives to support them.”
Lucy Masterson, CEO at Irish Youth Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Vhi has partnered with us again this year to launch the Vhi Health & Wellbeing Fund. As an organisation we were always committed to prioritising health and wellbeing programmes for the sector, but this has become even more important in the wake of the pandemic. Based on the projects that were awarded money from last year’s Fund, we’ve seen the difference the Vhi Fund can make to youth-focused organisations around the country.
“From the introduction of a specific programme to help manage the anxiety of young people living in direct provision to initiatives designed to support young people manage their physical wellbeing as well as enhancing their resilience, the impact has been inspiring. I look forward to seeing similar results with this year’s Fund and would encourage all organisations working in the youth sector to apply.”
How to apply?
The Vhi Health & Wellbeing Fund is open to not-for-project or charitable organisations that are seeking to deliver projects dedicated to supporting the resilience of young people aged 12-25 years old. Vhi and the Irish Youth Foundation are looking to support projects in the six locations where Vhi have operations – Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny and Limerick.
For more information, or to make an application, visit www.iyf.ie/grants. Applications are open until Wednesday 23rd February.