Laois volunteers, communities and charitable groups are being invited to partner with similar groups in Northern Ireland with the support of a new All-Island Fund which will provide grants of up to €20,000 to support such work.
The new fund by The Community Foundation for Ireland has been launched by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.
The aim is to invite Laois groups to share experiences, campaigns and research with similar groups in the North.
The Community Foundation wants to ensure that every voice is heard in deciding the future of relationships on the island.
It says that the views of young people, women and ethnic communities which were neglected, brushed aside or ignored before must be heard.
The new fund is being established on a pilot basis with private donors providing €500,000 for distribution to communities across the island.
Applications are being invited across three strands, up to €5,000, up to €10,000 and up to €20,000 in an approach aimed at ensuring a broad range of groups are covered – in terms of size, work which may already be underway as well as new partnerships.
The Fund invites proposals from those working on a range of issues – including gender-based violence, children’s rights and protections as well as climate change.
Communities can also seek support in responding to the impact of Covid-19 as well as the implications of Brexit.
Announcing the fund, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland said: “No matter what part of our island you live and work in, the events of the past 12-months have shown us that the biggest social issues of our time will have the same impact on your life.
“Whether it is Covid-19, the fall-out of Brexit or the continuing impact of Climate Change we must work harder to ensure that we are all better able to respond and ensure a thriving future for our communities.
“I would encourage Laois groups and communities to look to this fund as an opportunity to come together with those in Northern Ireland and see how the shared experiences can ensure a stronger civil society voice on both sides of the border.
“In addition we are encouraging Laois donors who share the vision of those who have already come forward to contact us so we can build this fund.
“By doing so you can help ensure that as we plan the next important chapter in our Island’s history that no community is isolated, ignored or left behind.”
Full details of the Fund including application forms and a donors guide are available here.