A new €1.5 million fund to help more people with disabilities to gain employment has been launched by the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland in partnership with financial services company State Street.
The Ability to Work Fund will support not-for-profit organisations to empower more people with disabilities to gain employment. The disability can be a physical or intellectual disability, a learning disability, or a disability due to traumatic brain injury or a mental health condition.
The Fund aims empower 250 people to progress along the pathways to employment by investing in organisations that provide training, upskilling, education and other services to people with disabilities. Examples of what the Fund will support include:
• strategic planning
• communications strategy development
• leadership training
• market research
• financial modelling (forecasting your organisation’s financial performance)
The funding will be available over three years, from 2020 to 2023. Cash grants of up to €90,000 each year for three years.
Online applications to the Fund will be managed by Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI). The Department provides match funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland, via the Dormant Accounts Fund.
As well as cash successful applicants will receive a business supports package to expand their business expertise and expand and deepen their impact. This will include a place on SIFI’s Accelerator Programme, access to SIFI’s networks of charities, social enterprises, government and donors and access to training and mentoring from State Street employees.
Applications are welcome from organisations that work with people with an intellectual, physical, mental health, learning or sensory disability who are aged 17 and older. The organisations must be engaged in creating ways to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities through education, training and skill-building.
The timeline for applications to the Ability to Work Fund is:
Stage 1: Open call for applications (November 2019 to 14 February 2020)
Stage 2: Selection process (February to March 2020)
Stage 3: Interviews (week starting 23 March 2020)
Stage 4: Final checks on short-listed applicants (April to May 2020)
Stage 5: Final decision by Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Board (June 2020)
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