Three new jobs will be created and a suicide awareness initiative rolled out at Cork Life Centre, following a €120,000 donation from the unique philanthropic fund Cork Foundation.

Two new councillors and one teacher will join the two full-time staff and 70 volunteers at the Sunday’s Well voluntary organisation, which offers an alternative learning environment to marginalised and vulnerable young people.

The donation will also fund the roll-out of Cork Life Centre’s suicide awareness initiative, ASIST – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, to communities and clubs across Cork. The project will take a positive approach to the promotion of mental health among young people within the local community through education, therapy and outreach.

Commenting at the announcement, founding Board member of the Cork Foundation Áine Collins, TD, said: “The donation is an inspirational example of Cork people helping each other and is typical of the Cork Foundation ethos, where Corkonians at home and abroad who are more fortunate, are willing to support emerging businesses and communities in the Cork region.

“I am so proud of what we have created and thankful to all the stakeholders and funders who all said ‘yes’ to me when I approached them with the idea of the Foundation back in 2011.”

Ms Collins added: “This donation, made privately by a Cork businessman, proves that with the continued improvements to the economy, the Cork Foundation is more relevant than ever to philanthropists who would like to give back to the Cork community.”

Director of Cork Life Centre Don O’Leary welcomed the €120,000 in funding from the Cork Foundation, stating that the generous donation will improve the opportunities of the teenagers they work with. Currently 47 students, aged 12 to 18, attend the Centre, which offers one-to-one tuition in Junior and Leaving Certificate subjects. The centre opened in 2000, with two similar initiatives operating in Dublin and another in Belfast. Many early school-leavers who’ve enrolled in the project have achieved formal school certification.

“We provide an important service for young people, and the value is on their social education as much as their academic,” said Mr O’Leary. “We are committed to engaging the young people we work with in learning and development, and in doing so, making a lasting difference to their future. This donation from Cork Foundation will enable us to continue our work.”

Also speaking for the Cork Foundation, Chairperson Yvonne Barry said: “Cork Life Centre is a deserving beneficiary, representing the social enterprises that Cork Foundation seeks to support. Working with donors both in Ireland and abroad, not-for-profit Cork Foundation supports social entrepreneurs and co-operatives in local communities across Cork city and county, prompting positive change through funding. This funding of €120,000 will help generate employment and strengthen the local community.”

“At the core of the Cork Foundation is the simple ethos – Cork people wanting to help other Cork people,” concluded Ms Barry.

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