Bank of Ireland launched its 2020 Begin Together Awards this week with a prize fund of over €200,000 to support towns across the island of Ireland as they reboot and recover from the impact of COVID-19.
The initiative will be fast-tracked to provide funding to winning towns by the beginning of October and directly assist their COVID-19 recovery.
This year, the awards will bring business and community groups together to support local recovery and rebuilding as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and the country gets back to work. Twenty one awards are involved with the overall winner receiving €50,000 and the title of Ireland’s ‘Most Enterprising Town’. There is also a prize of €20,000 for the winner of the ‘Rising Star’ award.
Reflecting the challenge that communities and businesses currently face as a result of the pandemic there are three special COVID-response awards:
· Local Town Promotion Initiative - A marketing or promotional campaign designed to help kick start the local economy.
· Local Community Enterprise Initiative - A local enterprise initiative established specifically to ease the impact of COVID-19 or one that repurposed itself during the pandemic and was ready to begin operation on the easing of restrictions.
· Local Business and Community Response Initiative – A joint initiative by local businesses and the community to manage the impact of COVID-19 through lockdown and beyond as towns start to reopen.
The closing date for entries is 24 August.
Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland’s Retail Ireland division, Gavin Kelly said, "Our experience has shown that incredible things can be achieved when communities, business groups and local authorities come together to meet their own challenges and make their own opportunities. This year, COVID-19 has presented the biggest challenge to our physical, mental and financial wellbeing in living memory, which makes that ‘can-do’ enterprising spirit more important than ever."
He added, "Through the lockdown, Bank of Ireland took immediate steps to support our customers and the national effort. Now, as the country moves to recovery, we’re focussed on practical initiatives that can help Ireland to ‘reboot’. Through the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards we are supporting businesses and communities across the island of Ireland as they restart and get back on their feet."