Seven-time All-Ireland winner and social activist Philly McMahon joined Vhi recently for the launch of a new Fund established in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation (IYF) dedicated to supporting young people’s health and wellbeing.
The Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund is looking to fund projects that are seeking to strengthen resilience in young people and help them manage anxiety. It is open to applications from non-profit charity organisations who work directly with young people or with adults who surround them. The emphasis will be on early intervention and prevention for young people. Grants of €5K and €10K will be available.
Research undertaken by the Irish Youth Foundation in August found that 3 in 4 youth leaders are now seeing an increase in the number of young people needing their support. This comes at a time when 68% of groups are experiencing a drop in funding levels due to COVID-19.
Overall, the survey highlighted how important health and wellbeing focused initiatives and programmes are for young people that avail of youth clubs and support organisations, with 87% of respondents defining it as extremely important. 62% say they don’t have access to appropriate health and wellbeing programmes with 69% expecting that they’ll have to reduce a range of programmes due to lack of funding.
Speaking at the launch of the Fund, Dublin Football star and Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund Ambassador, Philly McMahon said: “I’m excited to join Vhi and the Irish Youth Foundation to help launch the new Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund. Growing up in Ballymun my local youth and football club played a huge role in supporting me and helping me to navigate my way through those teenage years. The gifts and support they gave me have helped me to pursue my passion in football and establish my own business.”
“I’ve seen first-hand how important it is for young people to maintain a healthy mind and body to reach their full potential. The impact of recent months has been tough on us all but particularly on young people who would normally have access to teachers at school, a youth worker at their local club or a football coach at their weekly training sessions. The Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund is providing access to vital funding for the sector and I’d encourage all youth groups to check it out and apply.”
John O’ Dwyer, Chief Executive, 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’ve been working with the Irish Youth Foundation since 2017 through our ‘Run for Fun’ programme which focused on opening the minds of young people to healthier choices through exercise and nutrition. This year we’re delighted to be able to grow this partnership and launch the Vhi Health and Wellbeing Fund. We understand the impact recent months have had on young people and we want to ensure organisations working directly with young people living in vulnerable circumstances have access to funding to deliver vital programmes with health and wellbeing at their core. Through the Fund we’re looking to provide grants to groups with ideas around supporting young people to build resilience and manage anxiety with a special emphasis on early intervention and prevention.”
Lucy Masterson, CEO, Irish Youth Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Vhi has partnered with us to launch the Vhi Health & Wellbeing Fund. This Fund is being introduced at a critical time for the youth sector. The impact of COVID-19 has been significant on young people and in particular for those living in disadvantaged circumstances. The damage caused is yet to be fully realised. Before COVID hit, as an organisation we were committed to prioritising health and wellbeing programmes for the sector but as we continue to live with COVID this goal becomes even more important. I hope all organisations working in the youth sector will take the time to apply.”
The Vhi Health and 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. The application forms will be live online from Monday 14th September at 12 pm until midnight on Friday 16th October.