In an age where community-based solutions can solve national problems, Social Innovation Fund is offering a helping hand. At this year’s Ploughing Championships, we were introduced to the six groups that the organisation is supporting in their efforts.

Minister of State Seán Kyne announced the six winners of the 2018 Resilient Communities Fund at the National Ploughing Championships in September.

The fund is worth €500,000 and the winning projects were chosen from over 90 entries. Each of the winning projects was awarded a grant of between €10,000 and €100,000. The fund was set up to strengthen community resilience and to support projects that have a social, environmental or economic impact.

All the winners were on site to celebrate the occasion, and the pressure is on them now to address problems in their areas with solutions that could be replicated in other communities. However, they are not alone. As well as grant aid, the winning projects also receive valuable support and mentoring from the Social Innovation Fund to develop their ideas.

The Resilient Communities Fund was created by Social Innovation Fund and is supported by the Tomar Trust, and by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The 2018 winners are:

Volunteer Doctors (in the Community), a network of over 200 volunteer doctors who can provide professional A&E care directly at the site of life-threatening emergencies throughout Ireland, with particular impact in rural and disadvantaged urban areas.

Grant: €65,000

The Cottage Market is a national community markets initiative that emphasises ‘homemade, homegrown and handcrafted’ produce in communities. It promotes rural life and supports grassroot enterprises.

Grant: €80,000

AgeWell uses peer-based social engagement and mobile technology to enable and empower older people to age well in their homes for as long as possible.

Grant: €100,000

The Irish Men’s Sheds Association supports the development of Men’s Sheds. The Sheds are community-based organisations providing a safe, friendly and inclusive environment to men.

Grant: €80,000

Cloughjordan Community Farm’s Food Resilience Project aims to educate local families in Cloughjordan on the benefits of eating ethically produced, chemical-free food grown on their doorstep.

Grant: €65,000

Terenure Sustainable Energy is a group of volunteers dedicated to mobilising the community to retrofit their houses and generate their own renewable energy.

Grant: €10,000