Social Enterprise and the community are at the heart of what Oakfield Trust does.
The National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022 defines a social enterprise as:
An enterprise whose objective is to achieve a social, societal, or environmental impact, rather than maximising profit for its owners or shareholders… It pursues its objectives by trading on an ongoing basis through the provision of goods and/or services, and by reinvesting surpluses into achieving social objectives
Developing and promoting a wide understanding of social enterprise in Ireland is a key priority of this policy and it is a rapidly growing aspect of social and economic life in Ireland. People are now awake to the huge value in supporting organisations that provide services to communities or tackle social or socio-economic issues. There is space for new ideas and further engagement with all those with an interest in using this model to respond to many of our challenges and to human needs.
The Value of Social Enterprise
Social enterprises are incredibly impactful. They sustain jobs and communities all over Ireland. They are professionally run enterprises, willing and able to deliver on a range of social and economic requirements through the creation of jobs, and through the delivery of a broad range of services in areas such as homecare, childcare, employment activation, retail, hospitality and catering, environmental services, and social housing. They are entrepreneurial and innovative. They improve the lives of people and are established to address significant societal challenges. You may come into regular contact with social enterprises without even knowing. Many social enterprises work with government and with local authorities in the delivery of services across sectors such as health, wellbeing, and social services.
Oakfield Trust and Social Enterprise
Since our beginnings in 1997, as a social enterprise, our focus has always been on the community. We have provided a range of property-based services and related supports to assist community and local projects. We have also helped local organisations in the form of Project Development Loans and Grants as well as New Build Project Management. As well as that, supporting social enterprise has always been at the heart of what we do. We have assisted in areas such as providing premises and financial support to existing social enterprises in the Clondalkin area. Recreate and Recycle IT are great examples of social enterprises we continue to support, which provide a wonderful footprint in terms of social impact, both in the people they employ and the valuable work that they do.
During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Oakfield Trust also donated €130,000 in funding to initiatives working to combat the impact of Covid-19. We contributed €45,000 to The Children’s Rights Alliance Emergency Food Provision Scheme aimed at addressing food poverty across Ireland, and €75,000 to Rethink Ireland’s Social Innovation Fund which offers extensive wraparound supports to vulnerable social and community enterprises across Ireland. Funding for both initiatives was matched by the Government. You can read more about that in our Projects section.
The Next Stage for Oakfield Trust - Social Enterprise Funding
In line with national policy which aims to promote the growth of social enterprise, we are now launching the next stage in the journey of Oakfield Trust in supporting the community – a new grant funding vehicle for social enterprise. We see this as the natural evolution of the organisation and a new and dynamic way to give back to the community by helping to foster the development of social enterprise in Clondalkin, Dublin and beyond. There are a number of ways we will be hoping to assist the social enterprise community:
Funding for startup and existing social enterprises.
Small awards for social entrepreneurs and innovators who are exploring a social enterprise idea with genuine potential for sustainability and social impact.
Support for social enterprises or social entrepreneurs who may be interested in adopting successful social enterprise models from elsewhere, which can work locally.
We are really excited to start working with this rapidly growing, dynamic and creative community of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and innovators.