Lough Ree Access for All CLG, a licenced passenger boat service based locally for people with disabilities on the island of Ireland or in the UK, was recently announced by Rethink Ireland as being among the high-impact social enterprises to be awarded funding under the Social Enterprise Development Fund, now in its sixth year.
Lough Ree Access For All is a social enterprise which was set up in 2020. The group provides accessible boat trips, recreation and key supports to people with disabilities from all over the country. The Access project focuses on delivering the positive effects of waterways travel by enhancing the physical and mental health of passengers who access the boats independently by way of a revolutionary new ‘roll-on-roll-off’ design, akin to a small car ferry where the bow lowers to allow easy access.
Ranging from community services and affordable counselling to sustainability education providers, eight social enterprises responsible for responding to urgent needs in communities and tackling some of the country’s most pertinent societal barriers have been awarded funding. All awardee social enterprises will receive a combination of cash grants and business supports, including a cash injection of €22,500 each and access to a non-financial support package worth €7,500, aimed at assisting each awardee in further expanding their organisations and supporting people that are most in need.
The sixth year of the fund focused on start-up and next-stage social enterprises, as well as the continuation of a business course across every Local Authority region in Ireland. To date, the Fund has supported social enterprises in every county in Ireland, helping them to deliver services to over 400,000 people, provide 500 people with access to employment and to mobilise 16,600 volunteers.