Bank of Ireland provides €1m in emergency funding for communities impacted by Covid-19

3 April 2020

Funds fast-tracked include Northern Ireland projects supporting vulnerable groups with immediate needs

Bank of Ireland is donating €1 million in emergency funding to communities across the island of Ireland with urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, the Bank is fast tracking €500,000 of the funds to 13 organisations that are working to support the immediate needs of vulnerable groups across the island of Ireland, north and south. This support is being delivered to projects which will help children and older people, victims of domestic abuse, those suffering from rural isolation, cancer support, mental health challenges, and food distribution.

The remaining €500,000 is being donated to The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 Funds to help local charities and community organisations assisting vulnerable individuals and groups through this difficult period. The Community Foundations will launch these funds next week.

In Northern Ireland the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland will immediately receive €150k, with €100k going to their CV19 emergency fund with €50k shared evenly between Aware Northern Ireland and Cruse Bereavement Care NI.

Aware Northern Ireland – €25,000
Aware NI is seeking to address the mental health challenges that Covid-19 will present over coming months. €25,000 will enable two projects to expand to better support people with depression and bi-polar disorder: The AWARE Mindfulness Programme and the Mood Matters Programme.

Cruse Bereavement Care NI – €25,000
Cruse is proposing to set up a Bereavement Befrienders project for people aged over 60+. Members of the Friendship Groups and bereavement volunteers aged over 60+ will provide befriending over the telephone for those going through loss because of Coronavirus.

Ian McLaughlin, CEO Retail UK, said:

“Across the country we are seeing extraordinary acts of human endeavour as communities come together to help and support one another through these most difficult and challenging of times.

“We are part of the community here in Northern Ireland and we want to do what we can to help those most in need. Working in partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland will enable us to reach the most vulnerable quickly and fund those charities and organisations on the ground who will provide invaluable support in the coming weeks and months.”

Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO, commented:

“This is a time of crisis, and some of those most affected by it are also the most vulnerable in our society. They need help now, so we’ve structured this support in a way that it can get to them as quickly as possible.

“A crisis like this presents a range of real challenges. Some are obvious, but other needs may be less visible. That’s why we are working with The Community Foundation for Ireland which has advised us on a wide range of social issues and needs that require immediate financial support.

“As one of the largest employers on the island of Ireland, we want to practically support the communities where we live and work. We hope this support will help some of those most at risk right now.”

The organisations working on Covid-19 specific projects who have received funding from Bank of Ireland are Aware Northern Ireland, Cruse Bereavement Care NI, Age Action, FoodCloud, Irish Cancer Society, SAFE Ireland, St Vincent de Paul, Irish Rural Link, COPD Support Ireland, Children’s Rights Alliance, with a joint project being worked on by Asthma Society of Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis and Lung Fibrosis Ireland.

Notes to Editor:

CFI Covid-19 Fund
The Community Foundation for Ireland Covid-19 Fund will direct philanthropic support towards community groups and local charities supporting vulnerable groups in the evolving Covid-19 situation. Initially started with some of the CFI’s own grant funds, a number of donors, including Bank of Ireland, have pledged support to the Fund.

Begin Together Fund
In February 2020 Bank of Ireland launched its new ‘Begin Together’ initiative with three strands – the Begin Together Fund, the Begin Together Awards and Begin Together Colleagues – in February of this year. Creating this new emergency fund of €1 million effectively doubles the Bank’s community investment for 2020 to €2 million.

Banking Supports from BOI
Bank of Ireland has introduced a comprehensive range of supports for customers during the Covid-19 national emergency. These include payment breaks for mortgages and loans, cocooning and self-isolation supports, and a priority service for over-65s and carers. Full details are available on the Bank of Ireland UK website.