Social Innovation Skills projects win Seed Funding

Social Innovation Skills projects win Seed Funding

13 June 2017

Two organisations have won nearly £30,000 in funding from the Social Innovation NI Seed Fund to help them further develop unique new projects.

Two organisations have won nearly £30,000 in funding from the Social Innovation NI Seed Fund to help them further develop unique new projects.

This will allow the groups to use the funding to turn ideas developed during the Building Change Trust’s Social Innovation Skills Programme into reality. The intensive three month programme has taken the group on a journey to find new ways to solve difficult social problems.

The funding went to Macs NI (£14,860) and Kippie CIC (approximately £12,000). 

MACS Supporting Children and Young People works with young people in care and is seeking to build a Children’s Home that will provide specialised treatment for young people suffering from trauma, abuse and mental health issues.

Chief Executive Officer Mary Ryan said they would use the first part of the seed funding to carry out a feasibility study and economic appraisal of their plans for a therapeutic community for children.

“The second part of the seed funding we are going to use for a virtual house designed by an architect and for study trips to Tipperary, Limerick and Denmark to meet people who are doing something similar,” she said adding that the seed funding will help them proceed to the capital build phase of their project.

“It is essential for us to get the feasible study and virtual house to show evidence and garner excitement for this project,” she added.

Kippie CIC assists people with a range of mental health issues; for this project they looked at young LGBT people aged 10-14 to help them cope with social pressures using game design and development.

Katherine Rowlandson of Kippie described the Social Innovation Skills programme as brilliant: “It was a really good space to refine our ideas and meet other people. We learned a lot about different ways of thinking about design which we will use going forward.”

She said the funding would help develop their organisation: “We are working with a group of young people to teach them programming skills and this means we can do more to support them and build up their self-esteem.”

Paul Braithwaite who heads up the Building Change Trust’s work in Social Innovation explained: "The Social Innovation NI Seed Fund is designed to help organisations that have been through our Social Innovation Skills Programme to take their idea to the next level, helping them further imbed innovative practice and impact in communities. We're really excited to see where these projects go next.”

Using design thinking, the programme delivered by Work West and Enterprise North West, has allowed the groups to focus on potential ways to improve massive issues.

Design Thinking is a set of principles and processes that mimics how a designer works. It allows creativity and empowers people to think differently about the challenges they are facing.

“The process is excellent in tackling really complex problems that aren’t always well-defined at the start. It also allows collaboration with a range of stakeholders to really develop a valuable shared approach. This could involve third sector groups along with academics, local people, government and entrepreneurs,” Work West’s Patricia Flanagan she explained.

The Building Change Trust supports the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland through the development, delivery of, and learning from a range or programmes including commissioned work, awards programmes and other interventions.

It was established in 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10 million as an investment for community capacity building and promotion of the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

For further information on the Social Innovation Skills programme go