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Dara Connolly


Awardee 2016

Derek McDonnell
Claire Brady

ReCreate’s mission is to be an inclusive social enterprise by inspiring curiosity, creativity and care for the environment by supporting businesses nationwide to divert materials from landfill.

The Challenge

A child wakes up on Christmas morning and runs to the Christmas tree to get his present. He unwraps the colourful box to reveal a shiny red train set. Within minutes, the fun and play begins as the box itself becomes a house, a cave, a castle to the child. The creative instincts of this child are so much more than a game. They allow him to communicate his inner emotions and to develop motor and problemsolving skills. However, modern day society falls short of fostering this kind of creativity as classes, games and toys come with instructions and rules. This is particularly the case in disadvantaged communities where access to costly interactive materials can be limited. Meanwhile, end of line, surplus and unwanted materials with excellent reuse potential are discarded by businesses at considerable cost and sent straight to landfill.

The Idea

Dara witnessed the vital importance of creative, open ended play with Caoimh, his son with autism. He observed the confidence and wellbeing that it fostered in the children in the schools he helped to run, and knew more people needed to be able to access their creativity. He, along with Kevin McLoughlin, helped achieve this through ReCreate, set up in 2013 by Early Childhood Ireland and South Dublin County Partnership. ReCreate make art materials and educational supplies affordable and accessible to everyone. They salvage reusable  materials from businesses and distribute them in unlimited quantities. Social inclusion, creative learning, and sustainability are at their core. They work with disadvantaged groups through free workshops and discounted memberships and benefit the environment through creative reuse.

The Impact

ReCreate’s ‘Warehouse of Wonders’ is a place where anything can be created with imagination. Since 2014, approximately 150,000 individuals have accessed ReCreate’s services with schools and services saving up to €1,500 per annum on materials. They provide 6 full time and 18 part time jobs, along with 42 relevant work experience opportunities. They partner with 180 businesses, who benefit from significant savings on disposal costs and 250 tonnes of material diverted from landfill per annum for creative reuse. Their vision is of an Ireland where creativity and imagination are truly valued.

Dara Connolly, Award Winner 2017 Award, 2016

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Lower Ground Floor, 11/12 Warrington Place, Dublin 2
Phone: +353 1 685 3191, Email: info@socialentrepreneurs.ie

Company No: 433846, Registered Charity No: CHY 17524, © SEI 2016

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