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Ignite Fund Social Innovation Fund Ireland Harnessing Ability Award for Step Ahead to help brain injury survivors return to work or education with vocational assessment and support

We are delighted to tell you that Acquired Brain Injury Ireland was selected as one of six organisations to be awarded a grant from the Ignite Fund to help rebuild lives after brain injury.

The Ignite Fund was created by Social Innovation Fund Ireland in partnership with several private philanthropists and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Together these bodies have awarded a total fund of €550,000 to six worthwhile organisations – and we’re one of them!

How the Ignite Fund works

The Department of Rural and Community Development matches funding for all philanthropic funds raised by Social Innovation Fund Ireland from the Dormant Accounts Fund. The Awardees are spread across four separate categories under the themes of ‘Empowering Families’, ‘Youth Resilience’, ‘Harnessing Ability’ and ‘Music to Impact’.

Harnessing Ability

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has received the Ignite Fund Award 2019 to support brain injury survivors returning to work or education after brain injury.  The ‘Harnessing Ability’ Award was supported by philanthropists Ralph and Maureen Parkes and W2 Foundation, for which we are extremely grateful. Thanks to this award, we can expand our new vocational assessment service which was launched earlier this year. Step Ahead is a free of charge vocational assessment service that addresses the challenge of returning to paid employment or training for brain injury survivors.

Making a difference

Our National Services Manager Dr Karen Foley said: “Winning the Ignite Funding is vital to help us expand our Step Ahead vocational assessment service and rebuild lives after brain injury. Our new Step Ahead service, which also receives co-funding by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, offers essential and practical solutions to support adults returning to work, education or training after brain injury. Often people either cannot access or get the correct vocational supports they need. Thanks to the Ignite funding, we can expand this vital service to brain injury survivors of all ages, so they get the support they need from clinical experts in brain injury.”

Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them

Brain injuries can happen to anyone at any age at any time. They happen every day from causes like stroke, traffic accidents, falls, assault and brain tumours. When a brain injury happens, it can be devastating, both for the individual and for their families. Depending on the severity of the injury and what part of the brain is affected, it can put lives on hold while they undergo intense rehabilitation to relearn everyday activities, they used to do without thinking.

A word from our Minister of State

Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Canney TD said: “It makes me very proud that my Department, through the Dormant Accounts Funds, supports Social Innovation Fund Ireland in the great work they do. I am delighted to be here today to announce the six Awardees of their Ignite Fund. The initiatives each of these projects are developing are truly amazing and it’s wonderful to see them receive the recognition at today’s ceremony.”

A word from our philanthropists

Ralph & Maureen Parkes, philanthropists, and donors to the Ignite Fund said: “We are delighted to support Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Ignite Fund, especially the Harnessing Ability and Youth Resilience Awards. Each project and charity is unique in its own way and each demonstrates a clearly positive social impact on the fabric of Irish life.”


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