Last year saw communities across the country come together like never before, and Bank of Ireland played a small part by supporting local projects that promote financial, physical and mental wellbeing.

As part of Leinster Rugby’s affiliate charity initiative, throughout January we will bring you details from each county about local causes that received support from the 2020 ‘Begin Together’ Community Fund.

Involve Youth Project Meath operates a youth service in the towns of Navan and Trim to promote the participation of the traveller community in Irish society.

The funding will support the ‘Low Tech, High Activity’ initiative which will improve participants’ mental and physical wellbeing by introducing them to low-tech outdoor activities.

These will include mental health-themed workshops and outdoor sports activities in an adventure residential setting.

Another grantee, Trim Family Resource Centre, aims to identify and address issues of social exclusion and poverty in the area.

The funding will support an eight-month ‘Women’s Health and Development Programme’ comprising group sessions and one-to-one support, which will foster participants’ ‘personal toolbox’ of practical skills and competencies.

This will empower low-income women to explore supports, alternative education and employment options available in their community.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland empowers people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) to live the life of their choice to their fullest potential.

The local Meath branch received funds from Begin Together to deliver a physiotherapy and exercise programme to its users.

SOSAD provides free counselling and support to those who are suicidal, self-harming, bereaved by suicide or suffering with depression. SOSAD has five locations in the north-east of the country and a 24-hour helpline.

The funding is supporting the DBT Informed Skills Group which will involve counsellors delivering dialectical, behaviour therapy in a weekly group setting.

This kind of therapy has been found to be particularly effective for some people including those with acute issues, equipping them with fundamental life skills.

Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Community Fund will reopen for applications in the spring and works alongside Begin Together Arts Fund, and Begin Together Fund for Colleagues, as part of a multi-year commitment to support communities and local charities.

Find out more about the ways Bank of Ireland supports communities