Giving in Collaboration

The Childhood Development Initiative has been awarded €20,000 under one of The Community Foundation for Ireland’s Impact grants for 2015- 2016 in collaboration with The Katharine Howard Foundation.

giving in collaborationThe Community Foundation for Ireland realises the importance of collaborating with other trusts and foundations to provide large scale impact for projects and social issue areas that often go under funded. Through collaborating with similar organisations both in Ireland and internationally innovative solutions can be piloted with the aspiration to role projects out on a larger scale. One such initiative is the collaboration between The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Katharine Howard Foundation, read below for the full story on how working together can be a solution to fund projects for hard to reach beneficiaries.

The CDI were awarded €20,000 in funding for the Family Links initiative, a pilot programme with collaboration between the Irish Prison Service and the Parents Plus Charity that sets out to support prisoners to have a positive relationship with their family through a mix of formal and informal approaches.

This approach involves a prison-wide ethos of promoting and supporting positive parenting. The Parenting Plus programme, a training course in parenting skills is given to prisoners and a community based organisation in the locality of the prison was engaged to deliver the Parenting Plus programme to the prisoners’ partners in the community.

An essential component of the Family Links Initiative involves having key personnel in prison, from all disciplines (education, health, pastoral care, etc.), trained as Family Liaison Officers who support the prisoners in their parenting, with some of them delivering the parenting course within the prison.


Some of the main results of the Family Links initiative include;

  • 22 staff becoming Family Liaison Officers, 20 prison officers and 2 teaching staff and 20 additional staff being trained in the Parenting Plus programme. The latter were made up of a combination of Limerick Prison – Officers and teachers; Bedford Row and teaching staff from Wheatfield prison.
  • 15 prisoners and their partners started the Parenting Plus programme with nine prisoners finishing the programme.
  • Staff training has increased awareness of the impact of imprisonment on families. Visiting areas have been changed to include round tables and chairs. A family room has been developed for use by prisoners who participated in the Parenting Plus programme as well as for prisoners requesting special visits.
  • There has also been great results for prisoners after they have completed the Parenting Plus programme and also for those that were taken off the course. Prisoners have engaged with addiction and counselling services with some prisoners going onto enrol in various education courses.
  • An independent evaluation of the programme has been completed by the University of Limerick and will be available on the CDI website shortly.

What’s Next?

Interest had grown amongst other prisons and in December 2015, discussions were held with Wheatfield prison to begin the roll out there. This has progressed well, with programme implementation hoping to commence in May/June 2016. Other prisons have expressed a keen interest and it is hoped to continue the roll out in late 2016/early 2017.

Both The Community Foundation and the Katharine Howard Foundation realise the importance of providing funding for pilot programmes that work with hard to reach beneficiaries in an attempt to have worthwhile and effective programmes such as the Family Links Initiative mainstreamed. This initiative is a clear example of how through funder collaboration innovative programmes can be established with a clear evaluation to support future rollouts on a larger scale. From our experience, donors at The Community Foundation like to make strategic long term and sustainable impacts so this is one just one example of how philanthropy can make a tangible difference.

To find out more about how you can collaborate with The Community Foundation for Ireland in making future initiatives like this a reality click here or fill out the form below to receive a call back from our Fund Development team.

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