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28/09/2021

Trinity students making a huge ‘impact’ in run up to vital Donegal service tenth anniversary celebrations

Exciting new project coming with Carndonagh-based Spraoi agus Spórt

Trinity students making a huge ‘impact’ in run up to vital Donegal service tenth anniversary celebrations

The five other members of ‘Team Tionchar’ in a Zoom meeting with Spraoi agus Spórt.

Six MBA students from Trinity College Dublin who have named themselves ‘Team Tionchar’ (‘Team Impact’ in English) are working on an exciting new project with Carndonagh-based Spraoi agus Spórt to help celebrate the multi-award winning social enterprise’s achievements in the run up to their tenth anniversary later this year.

One of the members from ‘Team Tionchar’ is Edel McCabe who lives in Dublin but is originally from Fahan – and is bringing her wealth of marketing and communications experience to the project which includes creating an ‘infographic’ of Spraoi agus Spórt’s contribution over 10 years and a ‘social impact measurement tool’ to assist the organisation with its future plans.

Spraoi agus Spórt opened its doors to the public in November 2010 as a parent and toddler group – and has since grown into a vibrant family hub with workshops, events and afterschool care which meet the needs of the local community.

In December 2019 (for the second year in a row) they won the highly coveted ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ award at the Charity Impact Awards and were also a finalist in the ‘Best Social Enterprise’ category at the prestigious All Ireland Community & Council Awards in February 2020.

Edel McCabe, MBA student at Trinity College Dublin, said: “I am delighted to be working with such an innovative and inspiring social enterprise as Spraoi agus Spórt which is from my own county (Donegal) and amazingly only 20km away from my home house in Fahan.

“Indeed, all of the members of ‘Team Tionchar’ are excited to be working on this project with CEO Helen Nolan and all the staff.

“We really hope we can add value to their fantastic work – and I would also personally hope to become involved with Spraoi agus Spórt following the completion of my MBA programme and into the future - helping where and when I can.”

Co-founder and CEO of Spraoi agus Spórt Helen Nolan said: “We are delighted to have Edel and ‘Team Tionchar’ applying their focus and wide-ranging skills to this project which is creating a bespoke business solution for Spraoi agus Spórt.

“We have been on an incredible journey for a decade now – and know that our collaboration with Trinity Business School will help us celebrate our achievements and assist us in bringing our future plans to fruition – including a state-of-the-art ‘Youth Space’ for teenagers which incorporates a Changing Places Facility, developing our FabLab and rural co-working hub for entrepreneurs – as well as establishing two new Spraoi agus Spórt centres in Moville and Buncrana.

“Indeed, when we initially started out in 2010 we only offered 3 activities per week and catered for 15 families and 20 children.

“However, as of today (i.e. before the Covid-19 restrictions) we had a footfall of over 700 people attending more than 60 different weekly classes and activities. We are also now working across five key areas – parenting, children, young people, adult learning and enterprise.

“As a result of the lockdown we have had to stop delivering our services in the centre. However, from the outset in 2010 our business model has always been about responding to the needs of the local community or our users – and during the Covid-19 restrictions this has remained the same.

“Indeed, in March we donated our sewing machines and materials to the ‘Inishowen Mask Makers’ to make PPE and our FabLab has been creating visors for healthcare workers.

“Our staff are also operating a helpline from 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday where they organise grocery / prescription orders and deliveries (our Project Cineál service), and we have also helped to set up the Inishowen Food Bank initiative to ensure parcels are delivered to those most in need.

“A big part of our work over the past 10 years has also included providing alternative respite for families of children and teenagers with a disability and/or autism – and we are now in the process of rolling out a programme where we provide this service remotely via fun and creative online Zoom activities.

“It is therefore wonderful that Team Tionchar are working with us to produce an ‘infographic’ and report that captures and analyses the impact Spraoi agus Spórt has had on the local community – including in relation to improving mental health, ensuring social inclusion and contributing to rural regeneration.

“Indeed, the infographic will be used as part of our celebratory booklet which we will be publishing later this year and includes 10 stories illustrating our impact over 10 years.

“Team Tionchar are also developing a user-friendly ‘social impact measurement tool’ that we can use going forward to continually measure our impact across our five key areas. Indeed, in terms of continuing to address the social needs and challenges in Inishowen it is imperative that we are able to measure our impact and the success of our social mission.”

Helen Nolan concluded: “It has been a real pleasure to take part in the ‘Zoom calls’ and work alongside this highly-experienced group of MBA professionals. Indeed, I have no doubts that Edel and Team Tionchar will make a huge impact in terms of providing us with insightful and positive recommendations for change – ultimately delivering real value to our social enterprise as we embark on the next stage of our development.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor in Social Entrepreneurship Sheila Cannon and Teaching Fellow Chris Gordon from the Trinity Business School who have overseen this strategically important project for Spraoi agus Spórt.

“Indeed, it has been hugely beneficial and an immensely rewarding experience for not only myself but everyone involved at our social enterprise.”

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