KBC Bank invites community groups to share in €100,000 Bright Ideas fund

KBC Bank Ireland is calling on community groups across the country to apply for financial support for their dream projects from its €100,000 Bright Ideas fund.

KBC’s Bright Ideas community support initiative returns for a third year to support individuals and organisations which are transforming and improving the lives of others in their locality.  This year’s initiative will be promoted across seven different geographic regions to reflect KBC’s expanding network of retail banking hubs in Ireland. 

A new ‘Green’ category has also been created to recognise the importance of environmentally friendly projects in communities nationwide. A dedicated prize of €2,500 will be given to the overall winner of this category.

Over the last two years, 70 creative and innovative local community projects have received funding through Bright Ideas, breathing new life into a diverse range of schemes. These have included creating community based amenities for the elderly and people with special needs, sporting and educational activities for young people, community wellbeing resources, arts and culture initiatives, as well as urban renewal projects.  

Last year’s overall winner, the Rainbow Club for Autism in Mahon, Cork, was voted KBC’s Brightest Idea by the public and secured additional funding worth €5,000, to bring the project’s total prize fund to €7,500.

The funding was used to buy indoor and outdoor equipment for the club, which is unique in the south of the country and aids the development of 140 children with autism and sensory difficulties who attend the centre. Many of its users have since improved their communication skills and enjoy better socialisation and engagement, it said.

A new ‘Green’ category has also been created...

The Rainbow Club Secretary, Gobnait Burke, said: “Our sensory area has been fully kitted out with equipment thanks to the money we received from KBC. As well as the funding, we got lots of publicity from Bright Ideas and that has really helped to spread the word about our service.”

“The parents are developing friendships too and this is great to see; they are also heavily involved in fundraising for the club which is a big help to us.”

Encouraging community groups to apply this year, Aidan Power, Director of Customer, Brand & Marketing at KBC Bank Ireland, said: “From small beginnings, Bright Ideas has grown to help almost 70 projects make a real difference to the lives of others in communities across Ireland over the last two years.”  

“Bright Ideas is about giving something back to the communities where we live and work, and where KBC’s hubs are invested and are part of local life. It’s also about KBC providing much-needed long term investment, funding and support for local projects that show great initiative and a real sense of community spirit. There is a wealth of innovation and creativity in communities, and this year we’re really looking forward to finding out how KBC’s Bright Ideas can help local projects to thrive long into the future.”

More than 300 community projects applied to KBC’s Bright Ideas for funding last year.

Entries will be reviewed by local independent judging panels located in seven geographical regions that correspond with KBC’s hub network: Dublin City (Grand Canal, Baggot Street, College Green, Dundrum, Swords, Stillorgan), Cork (Lapp’s Quay, Wilton), Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford and the wider Leinster area (Maynooth, Naas and Greystones).

The judges’ top 14 projects will then go forward to the national final for public vote for the Brightest Idea – two regional winners will be selected from the seven geographical locations.

Applications for Bright Ideas funding can be submitted through the bank’s easy to use online application portal at www.kbcbrightideas.com, where last year’s winning projects are also featured if inspiration is needed.

The closing date for applications is 31st May 2016.