Community Finance Ireland: Sustaining Communities beyond Covid-19

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Community Finance Ireland host a discussion on the all-island impact of Covid-19 on communities & how they can be supported into recovery.

About this Event

Join Community Finance Ireland for this online panel discussion exploring the social impact of community groups across the island of Ireland, and how the Covid-19 crisis has and will continue to impact on their work and their wider communities.

Hosted by Dil Wickremasinghe, the discussion will welcome Dónal Traynor and Phelim Sharvin from Community Finance Ireland; Noel McGrath, All-Ireland-winning Tipperary hurler and founder of Limitless Minds; and Jenny Irvine, CEO ARC Healthy Living Centre and Irvinestown Trustee Enterprise Company (ITEC).

The panel will welcome questions from invited guests.

If you are free to join the event, please register.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Background to this Event

The response to Covid-19 across all our communities has demonstrated the value of social capital in a way like no other. That response has highlighted a public desire for greater collaboration and cooperation across the island of Ireland.

By supporting community projects through social finance solutions, Community Finance Ireland drives social impact in communities across the island. Established as part of the Ulster Community Investment Group (UCIT) in Belfast in 1995, Community Finance Ireland supports a diverse portfolio of sports groups, social housing projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises.

Now, the UCIT group is rebranding to an all-island Community Finance Ireland brand, which will celebrate and empower change-makers across the CVSE sector. This event will mark the launch of the new brand, featuring stakeholders discussing how community groups can be supported to work together throughout and beyond Covid-19.

Meet the Panel

MC: Dil Wickremasinghe – Founder of Insight Matters and host of Sparking Change podcast

A successful and accomplished broadcaster, Dil presented the weekly, award-winning ‘Global Village’ show on Newstalk for a decade. Her work as a journalist and advocate for the voiceless is centred in a firm belief that positive social change can happen one conversation at a time. She hosts the Sparking Change podcast on HeadStuff and in 2011 founded the social enterprise Insight Matters, a counselling and psychotherapy service which supports the mental health of over 400 clients a week.

Phelim Sharvin – Community Finance Ireland Associate Director (Northern Ireland)

Phelim is a Chartered Banker with over 20 years’ experience in the Social Finance sector and Portfolio Management. Through his work with CFI, Phelim has helped establish a diverse loan portfolio, helping many community projects thrive in Northern Ireland specialising in Sports, Childcare, Green Energy and Start Up Social Enterprises.

He is a regular judge of the Social Enterprise NI Awards and chairs the CFI annual Dragons' Den event.

Donal Traynor - Community Finance Ireland Associate Director (Republic of Ireland)

Dónal has over 20 years’ experience in supporting the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and is QFA accredited with The Institute of Banking. He specialises in sports, social enterprise and community projects. Donal established both the first Cross Border Support Programme for Social Enterprise in 2004 and the first All-Ireland Social Enterprise Trade Show in 2008. Dónal has led on expanding CFI’s loan portfolio within the Republic.

Dónal holds a degree in Economics from UCD, a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies & Tourism from UL, as well as an MBS in Co-operative and Social Enterprise from UCC.

Jenny Irvine - CEO ARC Healthy Living Centre and Irvinestown Trustee Enterprise Company (ITEC)

Jenny’s role as CEO with the ARC, Northern Ireland's first healthy living centre, has seen it grow to be a social enterprise that exceeds a turnover of £1.3 million and employs a team of 70. She also oversees ITEC property base where the profits are directly re-invested into programs that support a wide range of social issues such as alcohol, drug awareness, parenting and childcare.

Jenny has been recognized by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh as a "pioneer of the nation" for her work with social enterprises.

Noel McGrath - Tipperary Hurler and founder of Limitless Minds

Having represented Tipperary in Hurling since the age of 15, Noel is no stranger to overcoming challenges and coming back from tough times. When he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 24 in 2015, his resilience and focus was key to his recovery and the importance of club and county community saw him through this tough period.

Noel found that by sharing his story, he could inspire others to overcome challenges and established Limitless Minds to work with people of all ages in schools and businesses.


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