Spark Change

In the Autumn of 2017 The Wheel was part of an open call to the Environmental Protection Agency ‘EPA Research – 2017 UN Sustainable Development Goals Call’.


The Wheel, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, were successful in applying for an 18-month project titled "Piloting innovative approaches in sustainable communities towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Ireland". It was one of 3 projects funded during the open call and the only one that focussed specifically on communities.

The research fellow from TCD working with The Wheel on this project is Dr Vincent Carragher. The project hopes to build on Dr Carragher’s previous work in this space, EPA report 238, “Factors that Drive the Sustainable Behaviour and Transition of Communities, Groups and Individuals”[1]

The programme focuses on four key areas:

1. Reach (Awareness)

Direct Community Engagement through the networks of The Wheel and Dr Carraghers previous community engaged research groups via forums, seminars, coffee mornings across the country to build awareness of the actions and ideas that can Spark Change in local communities

2. Rivalry

A key motivator to action is through competition and rivalry. Like Tidy Towns there will be a national competition where communities can take the Challenge. We encourage people to start a project that will help their community become more environmentally, economically or socially sustainable.

3. Reward

We will host an awards ceremony at the end of the project to recognise the communities that have taken the challenge and announce winners in the various categories.

4. Realisation

Underpinning all of the work is a key pillar of making the SDGs real in people lives. We start from a position of recognising that there are already great things happening to make Irish communities more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. Allowing people to identify their actions as contributing to the SDGs will empower people to take more actions in their communities around the SDGs and give them a framework to make the SDGs relevant and real in their everyday lives and thus drive more sustainable behaviour.

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