By Denis J. Croke
LAST year saw communities across the country come together like never before, and Bank of Ireland played a small part by supporting local projects that promote financial, physical and mental wellbeing.
As part of Leinster Rugby’s affiliate charity initiative three different organisations in Co. Laois received grants for projects supporting all three strands of wellbeing.
Clonaslee Wheelchair Basketball, which caters for people with physical disabilities to play the sport of wheelchair basketball in the midlands area, was one of the groups to receive a grant.
Established in 2004 and affiliated to the Irish Wheelchair Association, the club trains weekly and competes nationally, in wintertime, as well as some more recreational activities in the summer.
The Begin Together funding will be used to acquire specialist basketball wheelchairs, which will enable those without a specialist chair to participate in the club. In addition to the obvious physical benefits, participation supports social and mental wellbeing, as well as their participation in community life.
Another grantee is Dignity Partnership (DiP), which works with people living in direct provision. It aims to promote positive mental wellbeing and self-confidence and to help them to learn about personal finance management.
The third grantee in Laois is the Laois Travellers Action Group received a grant to provide space for traveller men to discuss and develop tools to improve their mental health.
The group will help these men to access appropriate services by giving them a weekly point of contact and structured activities including workshops on different elements of wellbeing.
Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Community Fund will re-open for applications in the spring and works alongside Begin Together Arts Fund, and Begin Together Fund for Colleagues, as part of a multi-year commitment to support communities and local charities.