This award has been created to recognise and celebrate the positive impact of social enterprises in Ireland today.
Social enterprises are social-mission focused organisations that engage in trading activity to achieve their social mission, or to generate a contribution to the cost of delivering their mission.
Meet our 2019 winner below…
1. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
In 2010, five young mums in Donegal who were desperately in need of a social outlet would “meet up and complain about how little there was for mothers and babies to do here in Inishowen.” Nine years later, thanks to their proactive spirit and the input of many others along the way, we no longer have cause for complaint. “S&S is a social hub - It’s great.” Set up initially as a Parent and Toddler Group to address the lack of activities for young families, S&S now provide, on a weekly basis, over 60 social, educational and recreational activities for all ages and abilities that is inclusive, affordable, accessible and aligned to the needs of local people. S&S is a driving force in the community in tackling issues of loneliness, social inclusion and the economic decline of rural towns.
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
We are reducing Loneliness by providing courses and classes for people to feel connected to their community Our Disability Manager for Alternative Respite promotes Social Inclusion. Alternative Respite is the developing of a range of non-institutional respite options for individuals and families. - Our model ensures that young people receive the appropriate level of support from a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) to partake in purposeful and meaningful social and recreational activities with their friends and not segregated according to their disability in traditional respite settings when it comes to social opportunities. We are contributing to Rural Regeneration by -Using previously vacant buildings -Creating sustainable employment -Providing services not previously available locally.
3. Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
S&S is making a positive difference in the lives of over 40 children and teenagers with a disability and/or autism and their families. Our Alternative Respite model provides SNA support at no extra cost to the parent. This model is part of the GENIO Facing Change international exhibition. Our families say “we have changed their lives”, that “we are a life-saver”, that “they don’t know what they would do without us”. This is particularly true for Geraldine Greene and her family. Geraldine’s daughter Saoirse aged 8 has a rare genetic disorder encompassing developmental delay, vision impairment and no verbal communication. Until joining S&S Saoirse did not have access to any fun social activities. “Spraoi agus Spórt has given us hope especially when we are having a bad day. It is light at the end of a tunnel and something to look forward to – the only RESPITE that we get that allows us to have time together as a family. All other care that we get is where I as the parent must be present and it just allows us to cover the basics like getting our daughter out for school, letting me get the dinner ready and help my other children that are now young carers do their homework. After these hours we have no access to respite. My daughter has needs that require 2:1 care at all times. S&S has been a lifeline to our family. Saoirse loves her time there and it is heartening to know that Saoirse can use your services and if we had a family emergency that you could help us out”.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been?
S&S offer a unique amalgam of support, learning, care and activity right in the heart of a very rural community. We offer a lifeline for those most in need of assistance. Reducing Loneliness 500 places provided in over 60 classes weekly Over 5,000 people supported Daily Parent & Toddler groups provide peer support, so young families feel supported Volunteerism provides a sense of purpose and value Social Inclusion 2,000 hours of alternative respite provided annually to 40 children and teenagers with a disability and/or autism Rural Regeneration Brought 5 vacant buildings into use with plans for 3 more Creating sustainable employment 4 FT posts 15 PT posts 70 Seasonal posts Brought high end digital technology & rural co-working space to our area Inspiring future generations to stay.
5. What makes your organisation special?
S&S is an award-winning, dynamic and progressive social enterprise, which is playing a key role in proactively combating social isolation, promoting social inclusion and driving rural regeneration through the provision of services designed to include the whole community. We have been providing inclusive social, recreational and educational activities for our community for almost 9 years. We understand the needs of our community and can put the supports in place to help. We have a vision for this place that involves connecting people in, providing opportunity and creating a really great place to live for all ages. We are an adapting organisation within a community that is meeting the needs of our users. We are growing the social capital of the place we call home. We are one of a kind!
6. How can the public support your work?
Public support has been paramount to our success to date and we encourage people to get involved in many ways. Our office door is always open for anyone wishing to donate their time and expertise. People are linked in as directors, volunteer members, employed staff members, participants, teachers, tutors, and suppliers. We encourage the community to get involved in different ways. Volunteer In our Charity Shop Fadó For the GAISCE Awards For the John Paul II Awards Support Our annual 5k run Our Coffee Morning Share our story Follow us on Social Media Leave a review Word of Mouth – Tell people about us We are blessed to have such great support from within our own community and we look forward to their continued support in implementing our ideas and aspirations for the future.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
S&S is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity aligned with the Charities Regulatory Authority. We are members of The Wheel. Our annual accounts are published online and are prepared in accordance with the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP). We comply with the Governance Code and the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising as well as GDPR requirements.