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  • IMSA wins an Arthur Guinness Fund Award.

    The continuing growth and development of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association was guaranteed yesterday with the announcement that the IMSA was one of the winners of the 2011 Arthur Guinness Fund competition for social entrepreneurship.

    John Evoy (Second from left) with the other winners of the Arthur Guinness Fund 2011. Each of the winners will get financial support and professional business mentoring over the next two years.

    Ten entrepreneurs were announced as the recipients of the 2011 Arthur Guinness Fund with each of their unique projects receiving financial support and professional business mentoring over the next two years.

    Established in 2009 to mark 250 years of Guinness, the Arthur Guinness Fund is an innovative investment vehicle designed to support social entrepreneurs and act as a springboard in further developing their initiatives. At the same time, it is continuing the philanthropic spirit and legacy of the brand’s creator, Arthur Guinness.

    In addition to John who received the award on behalf of IMSA, the 2011 Arthur Guinness Fund awardees are;

    • Jamie Regan – Hand on Heart Enterprises: As a former accountant for St Joseph’s Centre for the Blind in Drumcondra, Jamie saw how difficult it is for blind or low vision people to find meaningful work and has developed a model for supportive enterprise that helps them get into the workplace.
    • Robin Blandford – Decisions for Heroes: Robin has combined a background in digital media engineering with his work as a volunteer cliff rescuer to create a unique software application that enables rescue workers to spot trends and patterns in accidents and thus target their missions more effectively.
    • George Boyle – The Fumbally Exchange (FEx): when the news came that her employer’s company had been liquidated, George moved fast to establish FEx, a new design hub in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties in which entrepreneurs, the unemployed, sole traders and small businesses can come together to share not just office space but ideas, energy and innovation.
    • Michael Hallissy and John Hurley, H2 Learning: building on years of experience in the e-learning field, Michael Hallissy and John Hurley have set up H2 Learning and a new virtual learning platform called AdultMaths, which helps those who may be uncomfortable about returning to traditional adult education to up-skill in this critical field.
    • Oisin Scollard Turn2Me – driven by the many challenges within the Irish mental health system, and prompted by a personal experience, Oisin founded Turn2Me, an online interactive community comprising of 3,500 people who help and support each other in a peer-to-peer environment.
    • Stephen Plunkett – U-Casadh: A former prison officer, Stephen established U-Casadh to help former prisoners re-integrate into the workplace. The programme provides sheltered training and employment to build structure, confidence and self-esteem.
    • Stuart McLaughlin – Fundit: keenly aware of the enormous challenges around employment opportunities in the creative sector, Stuart has developed a new web platform that gives the public an opportunity to ‘fund’ ideas they like in return for creative rewards.
    • John Kearney – West Cork Rapid Response: by more efficiently using local voluntary resources, John and his colleagues bring to rural areas the same standard of intensive care drugs, monitoring equipment, diagnostics and skills found in the best hospital resuscitation rooms in Europe.
    • Denis Roche – Vivartes: recognising the problem of anxiety and depression in care facilities, Denis has designed a web platform which enables patients to remain connected with their families, friends and the outside world.

    The Arthur Guinness Fund, along with Arthur’s Day was established as part of the Guinness brand’s 250th celebrations in 2009. Guinness kick started the fund with a €2.5 million investment, which is making a significant and positive transformational impact on local communities in Ireland.

    Since 2009, €1.65 million has been invested by the Arthur Guinness Fund and it will continue to invest in social entrepreneurs in Ireland into the future.

    Speaking at the announcement, Tanya Clarke, Marketing Director, Diageo Ireland said, “Arthur Guinness, the original philanthropist, provided the inspiration for the Arthur Guinness Fund and the Guinness brand is delighted to be in a position to continue his philanthropic legacy today through the Arthur Guinness Fund.

    Through the fund, we have encountered some amazing people who possess a business head and a social heart. In the face of a tough economic environment, they are pushing ahead and playing their part to help bring about positive social change in the communities in which they operate.”

    The Arthur Guinness Fund received 450 applicants from social entrepreneurs all over Ireland. The thorough assessment process was conducted by Diageo employees, a representative from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and a panel of external judges from the Irish social enterprise and business sectors.

    Sean Coughlan, Chief Executive, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland commented: “The quality and diversity of applicants is a testament to the value of the initiative and also an indication of the strong will that is out there to come up with innovative, impactful and sustainable initiatives that the benefit communities right across Ireland.”

    For further information please visit www.guinness.com or www.facebook.com/GuinnessIreland