1. How did the TYF come about and what instigated this approach to CSR and what benefits has Coca-Cola gained from the programme?
The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund was launched, developed and implemented in 2011 to mark our 125th Anniversary celebrations in Ireland. The objective was to mark the occasion by giving something back to the community across the island of Ireland.
Since the launch in 2011 the Fund has donated €250K to 26 organisations across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
€125,000 is invested by the company in the Coca Cola Thank You Fund. This money will be granted to not-for-profit community, voluntary and charitable organisations who have a innovative proposal to encouraging communities to lead more balanced, healthy and active lifestyles. The partners to the Fund are The Federation of Irish Sport, The Wheel and The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), and we are very grateful to them for their support and collaboration.
The Fund has enabled us to connect with communities at grassroots levels, make an appreciable difference to voluntary organisations on the ground, build relationships with our partners, better understand the needs of the sector and engage our employees around what is now our flagship CSR programme.
2. What sort of projects won the prize last year?
In 2012, the Irish Olympic Handball Association received a grant of €25,000 from The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. The Irish Olympic Handball Association put their funding towards organising a series of nationwide Street Handball Seminars. The series is still underway and will culminate in a national Street Handball Festival, bringing handball to Irish streets in a high profile and high energy manner.
Our judging panel identified the Irish Olympic Handball Association as one which was superbly positioned to get a large number of young people moving while also encouraging them to have fun!
In addition to the Irish Olympic Handball Association, there were ten other worthy recipients of grants from the Fund. Each of the following organisations received €10,000: Arthritis Ireland, Autism Initiatives NI, Ballina Boxing Club, Ballyduff AFC, CoisCeim Dance Theatre Ltd, Fortwilliam & Macrory Presbyterian Church, Navan Community Ltd, Northern Ireland at Play, Spraoi agus Sport and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
The list of recipient organisations is diverse as we believe there are many ways to encourage active and healthy lifestyles in Irish communities. The key is innovation – each recipient offered an engaging, novel approach to promoting activity, and we hope that the 2013 entrants will put forward similarly engaging proposals.
3. How has the fund progressed this year and are there any changes from last year?
Each year we shape our theme to adapt to the needs and requirements of the applications we have received previously. This year in order to grow awareness of the Fund we are hosting a series of five free information seminars across the island.
As part of the events, Fitness expert and Coca-Cola Thank You Fund judge Karl Henry provided people with advice and inspiration on building more activity in their daily lives. These events are being held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Belfast.
4. What advice would you give to any sports organisation looking to win a prize from the TYF?
Taking a balanced approach to nutrition as well as incorporating activity and exercise into daily routines is vitally important for the health of the nation. This year The Fund is specifically looking for interesting new projects which are promoting innovative approaches to nutrition and activity which could have the potential to be scaled and rolled out across numerous communities.
Those looking to apply this year should log onto www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou to examine at the application form. Be creative and think of a way your organisation can encourage your community to get healthy and active. Applications are accepted online up until 19th July.
5. What is your sporting highlight of the past year?
It has to be the London Olympic Games and the achievements of our Irish boxers out there – they were inspiring!