Get on Board with Community Spirit

MOVE FROM p.6 to p.14 Get on board with community spirit

Ever wondered what happens to the unclaimed money from all those overpaid bus tickets? Well, for the past decade, Dublin Bus has been using the money to fund community projects across the city through their Community Spirit Initiative.

The initiative was set up in 2003 to provide support for voluntary projects within the operating area of Dublin Bus routes, with former Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn becoming its patron.

Through the annual Community Spirit Awards, grants are awarded in sums of €5,000, €2,000 and €1,000. To qualify, projects must be run by voluntary groups, be based in an area served by Dublin Bus and fall under one of the following categories: Children and Youth, Sport, People with Disabilities, Older People, Education and finally, Environment and Local Community. Over 1,300 individual projects have received funding since 2003. Last year, a total of €120,000 was paid out, with five groups receiving €5,000, 15 awarded €2,000 each and 65 receiving €1,000.

Another aspect of the initiative is the Dublin Bus Schools Programme, which sees Dublin Bus co-ordinators visiting schools and instructing pupils on how to use the service in a respectful and well-behaved manner. A children’s art competition is held annually for primary school pupils who are given the option of submitting either a picture or a poem with a theme related to Dublin Bus. The winning applicants see their work printed in the annually published Dublin Bus calendar.

Every summer, a chosen Dublin football ground plays host to the Dublin Bus Niall Quinn Penalty Shoot Out. A selection of eight to 14 year olds are invited to enjoy a day of skills training and get to take part in a penalty shootout competition with the legendary footballer. The event is held in a different part of the greater Dublin area each year and is co-ordinated between Dublin Bus and voluntary groups in the chosen locale.

By Eric Hillis