Leave No Trace Ireland and Safe Haven Ireland launch programme serving young people from diverse backgrounds with €10,000 funding

Ireland, 28th August 2018 – Leave No Trace Ireland, in collaboration with Safe Haven Ireland, have been awarded funding through the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund for their ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ programme. A total of €100,000 was granted through the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund in 2017 to 14 community groups across Ireland and Northern Ireland for innovative projects that support and inspire young people.

Leave No Trace Ireland and Safe Haven Ireland were awarded a €10,000 grant for their joint project which aims to promote integration between communities in Ireland and empower young people at risk of social exclusion. It provides opportunities for young people from a variety of backgrounds, including refugees and asylum seekers, to take part in voyages along the Irish coastline on sail training vessels, learn about the environment as well as taking action to conserve it.

The judges selected this project for a larger grant as they felt that it was unique and compelling and that with the €10,000 investment the organisations could achieve a sustainable impact in their community.     

Speaking at the launch of the voyage Ronan Farren, ‎Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola Ireland said: “We are delighted to invest in young people in our communities but it is important to us that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund is a catalyst for new thinking and helps support the delivery of projects and schemes that otherwise might not happen. The Leave No Trace and Safe Haven Ireland programme was a particularly engaging application and at the pitch phase the judges were inspired by the ambition of the programme and the impact it could have on the youth participants. I wish everyone setting sail today the very best of luck.”

Maura Lyons, Manager, Leave No Trace Ireland said: “We are thrilled to have received €10,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. Our project, Breath of Fresh Air, provides opportunities for young people from a variety of backgrounds to take part in voyages along the Irish coastline on sail training vessels. Young people growing up in Ireland today face multiple barriers to living healthy, happy and successful lives. Our programme tackles these issues by developing in young people the skills and behaviours that will lay the foundation for positive attitudes and behaviours throughout adolescence and into adulthood. We do this by exposing young people to new and challenging experiences in outdoor environments as they learn sailing skills and outdoor ethics. Throughout the journey, young people learn about marine wildlife in Ireland, environmental issues in marine litter and even get involved in beach clean ups. Thanks to the funding from Coca-Cola, we are able to continue the work we do.”

Shauna Gillan, Director, Safe Haven Ireland said: “New arrivals to Ireland are often at risk of social exclusion. As half of the participants on board are refugees or other recent migrants to Ireland, a cultural exchange is enabled as part of the project.  We have found sail training to be an ideal way to foster bonds between communities. Participants on board are thrown into an unfamiliar and exciting environment and leave the voyage having gained new skills. We usually see evidence of a heightened sense of self-esteem as well as better communication and team-working skills by the end of each voyage. Participants very often walk away with a new-found love for the sea and the coastal environment, as well as an enhanced appreciation of the cultural differences, and similarities, between their different communities”

More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at

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Notes to editor

About the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland.

By investing in community groups that specifically target youth, Coca-Cola is aiming to support those who provide targeted interventions for young people, helping to keep them interested in certain activities or providing supports and networks that help them to make the right decisions as they move from teenage years to young adulthood.

Since the Thank You Fund was launched in 2011 it has invested a total of €855,000 in community groups and non-profit organisations throughout the island of Ireland.   

For further information, please contact:

Maura Lyons, Leave No Trace Ireland on 087 900 5683