Minister O’Gorman announces new funding schemes worth €800,000 as part of What Works Initiative

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The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., today (Friday 9th April 2021)  announced two new funding schemes, worth €800,000 and aimed at supporting staff and expanding the use of technology in community and voluntary organisations working with children, young people and their families.

The two schemes form part of the Department’s What Works Initiative, which looks to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children and young people, and is funded through Dormant Accounts.

Alongside the two funding schemes, the Minister also launched a new Learning Strategy for the What Works initiative.

The Learning Together Fund is open for applications from today (April 9th), and will support professionals working in children, youth and family services with their learning requirements, peer interaction, project collaborations and knowledge dissemination. There is a total of €200,000 available under this fund and organisations can apply for a maximum of €20,000.

Rethink Ireland have been allocated €600,000 in funding for the ‘Children and Youth Digital Solutions’ Fund, which  will open for applications on 15th April 2021 and  aims to help projects supporting children and young people’s services to become more efficient, transparent, inclusive and accessible by means of the innovative use of technology.


Launching the funding schemes, Minister O’Gorman said:

“These funding measures will make an important difference to the lives of children, young people and their families. They are designed to 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.”

Finally, Minister O’Gorman announced the publication of the What Works Learning Strategy. This strategy is intended to improve the knowledge and skills of professionals working with children, young people and their families to use prevention and early intervention. It sets out how learning is being supported under What Works, and what the initiative will achieve in this area overall.

Minister O’Gorman said, ‘I am pleased that this strategy has been published. It sets out how we can develop more learning opportunities, ultimately to improve outcomes for children and young people, especially those who are vulnerable. I know learning under What Works has had a significant impact already in supporting prevention and early intervention across the children’s sector and wider system through events such as our Festival of Learning , but also that there are further opportunities and needs to address in this important sector.’

More information on these funding measures, and the Learning Strategy, is available on the What Works website.


Issued by the Press and Communications Office at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Tel: 01 647 – 3153/3032 Email: media@equality.gov.ie



What Works, funded under Dormant Accounts, is an initiative designed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), which aims to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children and young people living in Ireland. There are four working strands under What Works, namely data, evidence, learning & development and quality.  What Works has previously provided over €2.5m to children and youth services, towards projects in innovation and learning.  What Works also supports several ongoing projects, pilots, and learning and development initiatives to support policymakers, practitioners and providers who work in prevention and early intervention for children, young people and their families.

Rethink Ireland (previously Social Innovation Fund Ireland) provides cash grants and business support to charities and social enterprises working in Irish communities across the country. Every euro they donate to Rethink Ireland is matched by the Irish Government from the Dormant Accounts Fund. Rethink Ireland have created a €65 million social innovation fund since their first year of operation in 2016. They have partnered with companies, trusts, foundations, families and individuals to create 30 funds tackling issues such as inequality and educational disadvantage to support over 200 social innovations. These innovations have reached 300,000 people and enabled 864 people experiencing disadvantage to progress into employment. Further information is available on the Rethink Ireland website.

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