Open Fund

The HeadStart Fund 2023-2026

Apply
Closing Date
03/03/2023
In partnership with:
4 people standing in front of a colorful wall mural that reads the future is social, there are daises trees and a rainbow surrounding the text which sits upon a large watering can in a bright blue.
Deirdre Mortell, CEO at Rethink Ireland, Minister Mary Butler, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Joe Creegan, Head of Corporate Life and Pensions Zurich, Aisling Duffy, Senior Project Manager. Community Operations, Mental Health.

This is a three-year, €3,000,000 Fund created by Rethink Ireland in collaboration with the Z Zurich Foundation and the HSE. We invite applications from projects and organisations that have an innovative approach to effecting positive mental health, with a proven track record of impact and a vision to scale.

All young people can benefit from better mental health and The HeadStart Fund recognises that you don’t need to be at a ‘crisis point’ to access mental health support. Therefore, the projects/organisations who apply for the HeadStart Fund will be working across the full spectrum of mental health initiatives including early interventions, well-being and resilience programmes, confidence-building supports, initiatives for fighting depression/social anxiety/loneliness/stress, etc. This is not an exhaustive list. We want to back organisations that will equip our young people with the skills they need to improve and maintain their mental health and well-being over time.
The HeadStart Fund will support organisations working with young people aged 15-24 in the Republic of Ireland and will focus on innovative solutions to help groups such as young people, women, and those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage through cash grants and non-financial support.

You can apply to the Headstart Fund via the online portal from January 23rd until March 3rd at 1 pm.

Please join us for our application clinics to find out more and answer any questions that you have:
Wednesday, 8th February at 11 am: Register
Friday, 17th February at 1 pm: Register

 

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

There will be up to 10 awards available in total,  each Awardee will receive a cash grant (to a maximum of €208,000, across three years), mentoring support and placement on Rethink Ireland’s capacity building programme.

WHO CAN APPLY?

This Fund is open to organisations with a not-for-profit legal form, e.g. charity, social enterprise, and other voluntary organisations. 

Eligibility & Criteria

Projects must meet both Rethink Ireland’s criteria and the specific criteria for the Headstart Fund, as set out below:

Rethink Ireland Criteria 

  • The project must address a critical social or environmental issue
  • The project must be innovative in an Irish context
  • The project must be based on the island of Ireland and must make its main impact in the Republic of Ireland
  • The project must have the potential and desire to scale or replicate in Ireland 
  • The project must provide evidence that it is up and running, or has been tested at least in a minimal way
  • Applicants must come from an entity that has a ‘not for profit legal form, for example, a charity or voluntary organisation

 

The Headstart Fund Core Criteria 

  • Projects must be working towards enhancing positive outcomes in mental health for their beneficiaries (young people aged 15-24) including one or more of the following:
    • Using early interventions that prevent mental ill-health from occurring in the first place;
    • Increasing the well-being and resilience of young people in general, not just those identified as facing mental health issues
    • Increasing the confidence of young people – which is critical to maintaining positive mental health in the longer term
    • Fighting the levels of depression/social anxiety/social isolation/loneliness/stress in young people
    • Enhancing the positive mental health of communities using evidence-based approaches and/or community development approaches. Please note: community development means groups of people with commonalities not necessarily located in the same geographical area. 
    • Addressing mental health outcomes that are worse for specific groups of people, including, but not limited to young people, women, ethnic minorities, and those facing socio-economic disadvantage within the target age range.

Advantageous criteria 

  • Projects working with marginalised groups of young people (for example: people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, people living in Direct Provision) 
  • Projects working with minority groups (for example: Traveller or Roma groups)

Projects addressing the social determinants of mental ill-health

Which projects cannot apply?

Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Research projects
  • Projects seeking funding for capital assets (such as buildings, vans or equipment)
  • Projects promoting or aligned with a political party
  • Projects that only accept participants of a particular faith or religious denomination
  • Projects focused on animal welfare 
  • Projects based outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Projects led by people under 18 years of age
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started

Which projects cannot apply?

Projects that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Research projects
  • Projects seeking funding for capital assets (such as buildings, vans or equipment)
  • Projects promoting or aligned with a political party
  • Projects that only accept participants of a particular faith or religious denomination
  • Projects focused on animal welfare 
  • Projects based outside the Republic of Ireland
  • Projects led by people under 18 years of age
  • Projects that are an idea (only) and that have not yet started

Which applicants cannot apply? 

Applicants that are not eligible to apply are:

  • Applicants under 18 years of age
  • Commercial companies
  • Rethink Ireland staff, directors, and their immediate family members
  • Any philanthropic donors supporting this Fund 
  • Individuals, statutory or public bodies, local development companies, LEADER companies, companies limited by shares, and organisations that are funded 100% by state bodies or agencies and continue to be in receipt of that funding.
  • Any consultant currently working with Rethink Ireland.
  • Any project currently being funded by Rethink Ireland. We define a current Awardee as an organisation and or project on one of our Funds that has grant payments remaining this year.

Past awardees that have been recipients of cash grants are ineligible, except where they are the parent organisation and the project is entirely different.

WHAT DOES THE FUND OFFER?

  • Cash grants up to €69,330 each year across 3 years
  • A business supports package
  • A place on our capacity building programme
  • Project performance management

HOW DO WE APPLY?

Complete the application via the online portal from January 23rd until March 3rd at 1 pm.    To complete your application form online, you will need to upload financial and governance information including a 3-year budget for your project. 

 Accessibility

We have tried to make the application process as accessible as possible but we understand that there may still be some difficulties for applicants. If you have access needs or are struggling with the application form, please get in touch with headstart@rethinkireland.ie.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What can cash grants be spent on? 

You may only spend the grant on the project which won the award. Rethink Ireland will agree on the specific use of the grant with you. 

Please note: you cannot use the grant to pay off debts or buy land, buildings, or equipment and it cannot be used for subsistence or scholarship payments to beneficiaries.

If my organisation has already or is currently receiving a grant from Rethink Ireland, can I still apply?

Yes. If you have previously been funded or are currently being funded by Rethink Ireland, you can still apply to the Headstart Fund with a new project.

Who will decide who wins the awards? 

The Board of Rethink Ireland makes final decisions.

What is the selection process? 

The selection process includes the following steps:

Stage 1: Open call for applications

Stage 2: Review the applications 

Stage 3: Shortlisted applicants invited to interview – week beginning April 3rd

Stage 4: Interviews held – April 17th – 28th (TBC)

Stage 5: Final checks on short-listed applicants

Stage 6: Final decision by Rethink Ireland’s Board – Mid-June

Stage 7: Inform successful applicants – Late June

 

Can organisations make multiple applications? 

Yes, organisations can make multiple applications. These applications must be for different projects.

 

If my organisation is funded by a Government/state agency (HSE, TULSA, etc) are we eligible? 

Yes, you can apply if you are in receipt of funding from a government or state agency. However, if your organisation is 100% funded through state sources then you are not eligible to apply to the Fund.

 

Any further questions?

Contact the Fund Team at headstart@rethinkireland.ie

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE HEADSTART FUND

By applying for The Headstart Fund, you agree to the following terms and conditions.

  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You have given full and truthful information, both verbal and written, at all stages of the application and selection process. 
  • You are eligible to apply. This means that your organisation meets the criteria for Rethink Ireland and, as described.
  • You have the right to apply. This means that you hold the necessary rights to carry out the project.
  • By sending in your application, you accept these terms and conditions and our Privacy Statement. If you do not comply with these terms and conditions, you may be disqualified and may have to return any award granted. 
  • Rethink Ireland will hold the personal details which you submitted with your application form. We will only share this information with the third parties administering the application and selection process unless we agree otherwise with you. Please see our Privacy Statement for full details.
  • The Awardees must take part in publicity about the grant. Rethink Ireland reserves the right to publish the names of organisations that are successful in their applications.
  • If you decline an award or if the award is taken back because you did not comply with the terms and conditions, the Directors may select an alternative Awardee.
  • Rethink Ireland reserves the right to disqualify any entrant, to change the terms and conditions without notice, or to cancel the application process at any stage.

Supporting initiatives offering early interventions, well-being and resilience programmes, and other mental health supports, to young people in Ireland.