€600,000 in funding is being made available to Rethink Ireland, which will help children and young people to improve their use of technology through Rethink Ireland’s Children and Youth Digital Solutions Fund.
The Fund was officially launched on April 9 by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman.
Rethink Ireland will partner with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the one-year fund, which is being delivered from April 2021 to March 2022. The objective of the Fund is to support services who work with children and young people to enhance their efficiency, programme reach, collaboration and their data collection through the use of technology.
It is being funded under the What Works Initiative, funded through Dormant Accounts, an initiative of the DCEDIY to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children and young people.
The Digital Solutions Fund will support up to eight projects/collaborations. Each awardee will receive a cash grant (to a maximum of €50,000), mentoring support and a comprehensive six-month Accelerator programme. The Accelerator Programme focuses on building awardees' capacity and equipping them to scale so they can reach more people in need of their work.
The Fund is open to organisations that have a not-for-profit legal form such as a school, charity, social enterprise, voluntary organisation or higher education institution. It will also be open to applications from Children and Young People’s Services Committees and Child and Family Support Networks, as key coordinating structures involving statutory and non-statutory agencies, and non-government organisations, in service delivery to children, young people and their families.
The successful applicant can be:
- A collaborative project with two or more organisations working together using technology to become more efficient in their communication and delivery of services to children and young people.
- A collaborative project with two or more organisations making innovative content for children/youth available and accessible online.
- A project that seeks to enhance the use of data and evidence in their service planning through digital solutions.
- An innovative IT/digital project which aims to improve the digital literacy of children, young people and/or their parents in order to address the digital divide.
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman said: “This funding will make an important difference to the lives of children, young people and their families. It will provide practical support to services focused on providing high-quality prevention and early intervention services for children, young people and their families, while encouraging the sharing of learning and collaboration. We know that by intervening early in a child’s life, or early in the onset of difficulties, we can improve lives and address the impact of disadvantage.”
CEO of Rethink Ireland, Deirdre Mortell, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has made our society become even more reliant on technology to learn, work and socialise. Technology has the ability to connect us to community, to learning and to new ideas. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also exposed the digital divide and the challenges some young people face in terms of accessing and using technology. Therefore, it is timely that today Rethink Ireland is launching the Digital Solutions Fund.
“I would strongly encourage services which help children and young people to improve their use of technology to apply to the Digital Solutions Fund. Rethink Ireland would be delighted to work with you to support you strengthen your impact and help bridge the digital divide.”
The Fund is open for applications until May 17 at noon. Further details are available on www.rethinkireland.ie.