Carndonagh social enterprise secures €300k from RTE Toy Show Appeal

Award-winning social enterprise, Spraoi agus Spórt, has secured €300,000 from the RTE Toy Show Appeal grants for 2022 by the Community Foundation for Ireland.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 4:03 pm

Spraoi Co-Founder & Chief Executive, Helen Nolan, says the grant will fund a new purpose-built Child and Family Hub for Carndonagh.

“We are thrilled to receive one of these Transformative Grants. We now have the opportunity to design a space specifically for the children and families of Inishowen. It is very exciting to imagine what that might look like for Carndonagh.”

“We’ve grown so rapidly since we opened in 2010 – going from a small parent & toddlers’ group to now providing services for over 700 participants a week. To meet demand, we’ve ended up being spread across 8 different locations, which don’t always match our needs.”

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

There are celebrations at Spraoi agus Sport.

“A dedicated hub will be “a game-changer for us and the families and children who use our services. We have developed and delivered creative activities for children for almost 12 years using rented accommodation, repurposed vacant buildings, and civic buildings. These spaces are not built for the services and projects we deliver, and this can restrict numbers and workshop time.”

“This funding will enable us to build a dedicated space on a town centre site, which can be customised for our needs. It will allow us to expand our inclusive creative and play services, in one central customised location. For the first time we’ll have an outdoor space, “co-designed” with the children, young people, and families we work with. Outdoor play is so important for good mental and physical health and wellbeing.”

“This funding also sends a very important message to our rural community that we deserve the best. So, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone at the RTE Toy Show Appeal, the Community Foundation for Ireland and all who have donated to the appeal. Your contributions will help to change the lives of children and families in Inishowen.”

Spraoi agus Spórt Chairperson, Patricia Lee, says the funding is more than a huge financial boost. “It is an affirmation of everything we are doing here at our social enterprise. We are very grateful that the RTE Toy Show Appeal and the Community Foundation have confidence in us to deliver for families and children in our area.”

“At Spraoi, we offer a huge range of social, recreational and educational activities for our community. We have a strong focus on family development, but also on contributing to economic and jobs growth. So, we work to create profits we can invest back into our business, community and local economy.”

Patricia says the grant is also a real boost to the hardworking staff, board, facilitators, and volunteers at Spraoi agus Spórt.

Last year, the Inishowen social enterprise secured funding of almost €10m for a regeneration project to revitalise Carndonagh, economically and socially. They received a grant of €8.2m from the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund – matched by €1.3m in funding from Donegal County Council. That project is due to begin this year, and will include a digital creative hub, new youth space for teenagers, co-working and office spaces, a community kitchen, and a sensory garden.