U-Casadh have been shortlisted in for the Ulster Bank/RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund competition. Voting closes at noon on Friday, November 6th. We would really appreciate if you could take a few seconds (literally) to vote for us as it would bring us a step closer to funding staff to develop the first Fab Lab in the South-East of Ireland. Simply click on the link and select U-Casadh from the list. It's as easy as that! No name or email address information required. Thank you for your support! http://skillsandopportunitiesfund.ulsterbank.com/vote/vote-in-island-of-ireland.html
If you would like more information on our bid to win this competition, just watch the short video appeal from our CEO, Stephen Plunkett, below.
Interview with Lorraine Lynch from Sugru Therapy at SEI Awards 2015. Sugru Therapy were presented with an Elevator Award from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland on the night.
Interview with John Murphy at the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards, Mansion House, Dublin, October 2015. John operates the SpeedPak Social Enterprise in North Dublin and has been a supporter of U-Casadh for several years.
Interview with SEI 2014 Elevator Award-winner, Ray Burke, of Active Connections at the 2015 SEI Awards, Mansion House Dublin. Ray discusses the impact of his own win as well as how he thinks winning the Impact Award will make for exciting times at U-Casadh.
The Mansion House, Dublin – October 13th, 2015. U-Casadh were awarded the most sought-after prize in Irish Social Enterprise - the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) Impact award. The award includes €140,000 in cash, as well as expertise from some of the finest minds in the Irish business world. The venue was full to capacity as U-Casadh CEO, Stephen Plunkett, received his award from renowned Irish entrepreneur, Norah Casey, who excelled in her MC duties on the night. To make the moment even sweeter, U-Casadh had been commissioned by SEI to create the hand-crafted, slate and timber trophies which were presented to all 9 awardees on the night. Three organisations (U-Casadh, Nurture and Pro-Social Driving) received the Impact-level award, while 6 organisations received the Elevator award, which includes €30,000 in cash.
Stephen Plunkett, in his acceptance speech, thanked the Department of Social Protection and the Probation Service for their ongoing support of the project. He went on to speak about the average cost of keeping a person in prison for a year being a minimum of €65,000 and stated: "this isn't just a social injustice - it's a terrible business plan". He also stated that U-Casadh has "more than halved the re-offending rate" among its service-users. "Encouragement and belief, occupation and purpose" are the core beliefs at U-Casadh, while the "mantra", according to Stephen, is simple: "you can be whatever you want to be".
Stephen Plunkett is a former prison-officer who left the prison service in an effort to provide a community-based support that would prevent so many of the same people coming back through the ‘revolving doors’ of the jails. He founded the U-Casadh Project in 2008 with the support of Waterford Area Partnership. U-Casadh means 'U-Turn', from the Irish word 'Casadh' - to twist or turn. The project is a registered charity which aims to: “be a catalyst for change in attitudes to crime, social exclusion, rehabilitation and justice”. The project has a 3-phase approach to supporting its service-users. Firstly, stabilisation around self-destructive behaviours, as well as supports around accessing fundemental needs, such as housing. Secondly, training/education based on the person’s interests. Thirdly, “occupation with purpose” – which means supporting the person in relation to employment or entrepreneurship.
U-Casadh’s ‘World of Work’ programme, which encapsulates this approach into a scalable (franchisable) model, means that organisations or individuals nationwide who wish to start an U-Casadh in their local area will soon be able to do so, with support from company headquarters in Ferrybank.
In attendance was Kilkenny-based Minister for Social Enterprise & Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan, who was delighted to see an organisation representing of the South-East winning one of this year's main awards.
You can view Stephen Plunkett's speech in full, below.