Eight finalists will have the opportunity to compete for €750,000 worth of support at the 2013 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. The Awards selection process and ceremony is sponsored by one of Ireland’s largest public companies, DCC plc, which has been a flagship sponsor for the last three years. The winning nominees will be announced at an awards ceremony on Monday, 11 November at Christ Church Cathedral.
Winning an Impact award of €200,000 had a massive effect on all three of last years’ winners:
- National youth outreach programme Soar has seen a huge growth in their life-skills workshops for young people aged 10-18. From working with 780 young people in 2012, Soar have almost doubled their output to work with more schools and 1,480 young people since winning the 2012 award.
- Since James Whelton won an Impact Award in 2012, Coder Dojo has more than trebled the number of young people who are attending their free computer coding classes. While an estimated 2,400 people took part in their classes in 2012, there were 7,500 taking part throughout this year to date.
- Aviva Cohen of Neuro Hero was also supported through the Impact Programme in 2012. The Award has enabled her to develop a range of apps for people who suffer from reduced communication ability due to impairments such as brain injury or intellectual disability. These are due to launch this November.
This year’s finalists are John Evoy of Irish Men’s Sheds Association, Krystian Fikert of MyMind, Natasha & Toby Haslam Hopwood of The Galtee Clinic, Peter Johnson of Jobnet, Graham Jones of Solas Project, John Kearney of Irish Community Rapid Response, Brian McCormick of Adtruism and Mags Mullarney of Move4Parkinson’s.
“Each of the eight social entrepreneurs lead fantastic, young organisations that are using innovative approaches to help bring about major social change in Ireland in areas as diverse as healthcare, local emergency services, unemployment, charity fundraising, the children’s care system and the prison and probation system,” said Seán Coughlan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.
Tommy Breen, Chief Executive Officer, DCC plc, commented, “We at DCC are proud to continue with our support of the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards. It is a great privilege and honour to play a role in the support and nourishment of Ireland’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs working to have a positive impact on our society.”
By Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick
A look back at our Impact Series discussion ‘Thinking Differently About Disability’ – Amie Hynes Fitzpatrick is the Communications Officer at Kanchi, an award-winning social enterprise that works to unleash the value of the one billion people in the world with a disability.
I am part of one of the most excluded communities in the world, due to conflicting stereotypes of extraordinary ability or charity dependent inability. I’m legally blind but don’t fall into either of these categories and neither do the majority of disabled people.
There are one billion people in the world with a disability and at home here in Ireland there are more people with disabilities than the entire population of county Cork. Can you imagine excluding an entire county, never mind an entire country because one characteristic associated with a community made you feel a little uncomfortable?
Changing how people think about disability is an integral part of creating an inclusive society. A society where I am no longer defined by my white stick and people with disabilities aren’t limited by what others think they “Can’t do”. We need a collaborative and cross sector approach in moving disability away from these stereotypes. But to do this we need to provide people with a platform to engage with disability and challenge their own thinking on disability.
On Monday evening in Smock Alley, The Impact Series provided a new platform from which real and lasting social change can grow. Presenting alongside a diverse range of speakers, together we showcased areas of public policy, social enterprise, international business and elite sport, showing how every single person can be a change agent in shaping how people with disabilities are included in society.
London 2012 Paralympics received more sponsorship and viewers than any previous Paralympics and changed how millions of people around the world perceived athletes with disabilities. Dave Malone Head of Paralympic Swimming at Paralympics Ireland took to the stage on Monday evening. Dave has delivered 14 international medals including two gold at London 2012 and a record-breaking eight medals at this summer’s World Championships. Prior to this, he competed for Ireland at four Paralympic Games, winning medals in his favoured 100m backstroke event at Atlanta 1996 (silver), Sydney 2000 (gold) and Athens 2004 (silver).
While there are an estimated 600,000 people with disabilities in Ireland, it is important to acknowledge and support family members of people with disabilities. In 2012, Claire Murphy co-founded LEAP. Claire will shared her story on Monday, outlining why she believes that families who have a family member with a disability need to be supported to be the creators and drivers of their own destiny. LEAP develops a personalised support roadmap to navigate life stages without imposing its own goals or solutions.
Challenging Conventional Thinking
A personal hero of mine, Mark Pollock a worldwide expert in smashing expectations and on Monday he challenged conventional thinking on disability. Unbroken by blindness at 22, Mark competed in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including an epic 2 month expedition race to the South Pole. He won silver and bronze rowing in the Commonwealth Games. In July 2010, a tragic fall left him paralysed. Mark is now living his own lessons, a pioneer exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery.
Unleashing the Value of One Billion
Ireland is home to a global business movement kick started by the social enterprise Kanchi, which works to unleash the value of the one billion people in the world with a disability. Having been involved with Kanchi for 10 years, on Monday I had the chance to share how we have created an opportunity for business and an opportunity for people with disabilities. This is the business case for including people with disabilities as customers, employees and members of the community, not because it’s the right thing to do but because it makes business sense.
It’s a simple concept, if we change the way business and media leadership engaged with disability society will naturally follow. People with disabilities will be more included, employed, retained and will have access to products and services that provide a way of life many of us take for granted. At the same time the business community will be able to engage with a wider talent and customer pool through inclusive policies and practices.
People form perceptions at a rate of 180 miles an hour and it goes against our natural human instinct to change this perception once it has been formed. Before I found out I was legally blind I made up the 80% of people that thought a disability was a wheelchair or physical impairment. My own thinking on disability has changed dramatically over the last 13 years because of the support and encouragement I received. I was always told “You can do anything”, my friends and family never defined me by my disability because the focus was on my ability and potential. Our workplaces, sports clubs and communities will benefit greatly if every single person had that same sense of belief instilled in them irrespective of difference or disability. The first step to creating a society where every single person is valued for their ability and contribution is getting people to think differently about disability.
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