Youth groups share €100,000 from the Applegreen Blossom Fund
Forecourt retailer Applegreen has awarded 16 community groups across Ireland a shared sum of over €100,000 via the Blossom Fund from the Irish Youth Foundation (IYF).
The funding will go towards encouraging children aged 6-18, who come from disadvantaged circumstances, to remain in education.
The 16 projects that have been awarded funding seek to address inequalities that discourage or prevent young people from completing education. Projects include supporting children with complex needs, providing work experience to students in areas of STEM, offering support and counselling, and facilitating escapes in the countryside. Each project is designed to equip young people with the tools and resilience needed to stay in education.
Lucy Masterson, CEO of the Irish Youth Foundation, commented: “The young people we support have been disproportionately affected by the last two years. We’re now starting to see the worrying effects of that in higher levels of disengagement in and early school leaving.
“Through our close work with youth projects across the country we know that the transitions from primary to secondary, and from junior to senior cycle are crucial times in a young person’s life. Ensuring that they are supported during those transitions can be life changing – for instance, early school leavers are three times as likely to be unemployed.
“That’s why the support provided by the Applegreen Blossom Fund is so important. It will ensure 16 incredible projects will be better able to meet this need and change the lives of young people across the country. We’re grateful to Applegreen for making this the focus of the fund this year.”
One of the groups that has been allocated funding is Saplings School in Rathfarnham, Dublin, a co-educational school that provides specialist education for pupils with autism and complex needs. Commenting on the funding, Michael Wood, Principal at the Saplings Rathfarnham school, explained: “Our pupils here in Saplings have very complex needs and the funding provided by the IYF Applegreen Blossom Fund will be vital in helping us to meet those needs.”
The 16 successful groups were selected from a total of 100 applications by the IYF, in consultation with the Applegreen charitable fund team. In addition to Saplings in Rathfarnham, other notable recipients include Narrative 4 which is based in Limerick, home of prominent IYF supporter, Greg O Shea. Narrative 4 brings young people together and builds their confidence via the narrative of storytelling. Other recipients include Galway-based Venture Out Wilderness, a nature-based health and wellbeing programme for young people in disadvantaged communities.
Seamus Stapleton, Applegreen Commercial Director, said: “The last two years have taught us how important education is for our young people. Being able to support the Irish Youth Foundation in reversing education dropout trends is part of our commitment to give back to our local communities. More work is needed to ensure every child is afforded the same opportunities to develop and grow in spaces that have their education and best interests at heart.”
The Blossom Fund is part of the Applegreen charitable fund which provides monetary support to four Irish charities and worthwhile initiatives. Every time an Applegreen customer makes a shop and fuel or a shop-only purchase in Applegreen in Ireland, the company donates 1 cent to the Applegreen Charitable Fund on the customer’s behalf. Applegreen currently supports Irish Youth Foundation, Pieta House, Food Cloud and Enable Ireland as part of the fund.
To date, the Blossom Fund has raised over €450,000 for the Irish Youth Foundation. The funds have fostered positive change in more than 133 local community groups, with over 8,000 children benefiting from direct support to date.