‘People didn’t know what way to turn’: How Rethink Ireland is helping disadvantaged groups across Ireland

It’s hard to believe we are now almost one full year into the Covid-19 crisis here in Ireland. Last February, our lives were very different. We could travel, meet up in groups, go to bars and restaurants and hug our friends and families. But for many people across the island of Ireland, the effects of this pandemic will be long lasting. Covid-19 has and will continue to have a detrimental affect on the mental health, wellbeing, and financial status of disadvantaged groups around the country. In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s wonderful to know that there are groups out there working to support the people who need it most, groups like Rethink Ireland.

Rethink Ireland

Rethink Ireland is a national organisation supporting innovative charities, social enterprises, and community organisations with cash grants and business supports. Every euro raised in philanthropy is matched by the Irish Government via the Dormant Accounts Fund. Since their first year of operations in 2016, they have created a €65 million social innovation fund.

In the past, Rethink Ireland has partnered with companies, trusts, foundations, families and individuals to create 30 different funds tackling issues such as inequality and educational disadvantage to support over 200 social innovations. These innovations have reached 300,000 people and enabled 864 people experiencing disadvantage to progress into employment.

Help during a crisis

2020 was an extremely difficult year for many people. As a result, Rethink Ireland set up the Innovate Together Fund to support innovative responses to the crisis. To date, 71 awardees have received support to help with issues such as sustainability, online education, food security, mental and physical health, economic recovery, reskilling the workforce, community outreach and other topical issues.

With an initial commitment of €5 million from the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund, Rethink Ireland raised an additional €0.6 million in funding from corporate partners which include the Z Zurich Foundation, Medtronic, Twitter and Oakfield Trust.

Oakfield Trust

Oakfield Trust is a social enterprise based in Clondalkin, Dublin 22. They acquire, customise and manage properties, and then lease those properties to organisations working with marginalised groups and socially excluded communities.

Over the last 20 years, Oakfield Trust has provided a range of property-based supports to a number of projects in the Clondalkin area from feasibility studies, start-up grants, and business development supports, to project loans, project management and capacity development. When the Covid-19 crisis hit in early 2020, Oakfield Trust were keen to assist charities, community groups and social enterprises just like themselves.

Innovate Together Fund

“We saw first hand the effect the pandemic had. The impact was devastating. People didn’t know what way to turn in these disadvantaged areas," explains Marie. "It was horrific to see. “It was important to us that we maximised what we could do with those funds, which is why we chose to invest in Rethink Ireland’s Innovate Together Fund. It seemed like a natural fit for us. Here was a way for us to be able to support communities across Ireland in the response to some of the biggest challenges we have ever faced.”

Thanks to the fund, Marie and the team at Oakfield Trust were able to help a wide range of people. “The projects that have been awarded through the fund are often working with marginalised communities and are tackling really critical issues - things which we aim to do through our own work at Oakfield - so we’re very pleased with that and are excited to see what impact those projects will make over the next 12 months,” she continues.

To date, 71 organisations have been awarded grants and non-financial supports from the Innovate Together Fund, including Specialisterne Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland, and Coolmine Therapeutic Community, all of which are within a 15 minute drive of the Oakfield Trust offices. “To know that an organisation like Specialisterne Ireland, for example, who are just 10 minutes away from us, are able to benefit in even a small way from our donation is phenomenal,” Marie states. “Their project ‘Virtual Connections’ supports both employees who are neurodiverse and their managers throughout the remote working process, facilitating new methods of operating and partnering. That has the potential to be a life changing thing for everyone who comes into contact with that project.”


Oakfield Trust Donates €130,000 to Help Local Families & Community Projects Through the Covid-19 Crisis


Oakfield Trust has donated €130,000 in funding to initiatives working to combat the impact of Covid-19. The organisation was fortunate to have a surplus in its Risk Reserve Fund which enabled the company to help support a number of projects during the pandemic which has posed a huge challenge for many local organisations. In order to donate as much as possible, Oakfield Trust selected initiatives with Government match funding – contributing €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 will be matched by the Government – thereby doubling the amount available to these organisations – and will be targeted at support for projects in the South County Dublin area. In addition to these funding schemes Oakfield Trust has also donated one-off funding grants to local food charities in Neilstown and Killinarden as well as Saoirse Women’s Refuge in Tallaght, The Prevention and Early Intervention Network [PEIN] and Beacon of Light Counselling Services in Clondalkin.

Marie Duffin, Manager of Oakfield Trust, said:


It has been a really difficult time for the whole community during this pandemic. These funding donations will help and support local people and projects – with funding allocated where it is needed the most.


We believe that now is the time for our fantastic community to come together and help each other recover from the Covid-19 crisis and build strong links for the future.



The Children’s Rights Alliance established the Emergency Food Provision Scheme at the end of April to support the nutritional needs for children under 6 years experiencing poverty and deprivation during the Covid-19 crisis and the Children and Young People Services Committees (CYPSC) played a key role in the delivery of the scheme by assisting organisations serving those with the greatest need to apply for the funding. Rethink Ireland provides cash grants and business supports to social innovations that directly address the current crisis and can make a real difference across Ireland.

Marie added: These initiatives are doing excellent work and we are fortunate to be in a position at this time of crisis to be part of their efforts by helping to fund their projects. Indeed, we believe their work will have a huge supportive impact on the lives of children and families within our own community and, through shared learning and other collaborations, on communities around the country.”



Minister Frances Fitzgerald Opens Balgaddy Child and Family Centre

Oakfield Trust Limited provides a service as Managing Agent to Management Companies incorporated for multiple unit developments in particular business parks, commercial, retail or office developments.  The aim of Oakfield Trusts service is


Local T.D., Minister Frances Fitzgerald, officially opened the Balgaddy Child and Family Centre on Friday last. Local residents, members of the Balgaddy Working Together Group, representatives of the County Partnership, South Dublin County Council, Archways, Oakfield Trust, local Family Support Centres and Atlantic Philanthropies attended the packed event. Deputy Lord Mayor Gus O’Connell, Joanna Tuffy TD and Councillors. Eamon Tuffy and Emer Higgins also attended.
"I am delighted to be here today to officially open the Balgaddy Child and Family Centre. Today’s opening is the culmination of 4 years of work and partnership and represents a positive investment into the community and for the residents of Balgaddy who have been waiting for these kinds of support services. With Atlantic Philanthropy funding and the guidance of both South Dublin County Council and project managed by Oakfield Trust, this initiative has been nurtured and turned what was a blueprint in a County Plan to the fantastic, warm and welcoming space showcased here today and fought for by the Balgaddy Working Together Group,” said Minister Frances Fitzgerald at the launch.

“Barnardos, Oakfield Trust, Archways, Deansrath Family Centre, Balgaddy Working Together Group and Dublin West Child Care and Learning Services have all played important roles in making the transition from a plan to a service and I commend them for their vision and commitment to the people of Balgaddy. The aim of the Centre is to support parents and the community as they create a warm, supportive and secure space in which children can grow, develop and flourish,” continued Fitzgerald.

The building opened its doors in September 2012 with the opening of the Beech Tree Community Childcare. The Centre has since gone on to develop a range of programs for children, families and the community. Services provided in this building include Family Mornings, Healthy Food Made Easy, Community Coffee Mornings, Family Days, After School Activities, New Mums Group and the Centre is getting busier and busier. All of these activities contribute to and indeed are vital ingredients for a vibrant successful community.

“The community in Balgaddy has proven itself to be resilient, proactive and, above all else, positive. Initiatives like the Balgaddy Child and Family Centre and the extra services involved, will give residents the support that families in our area often need,” said Minister Fitzgerald before she cut the ribbon on the plaque for the Balgaddy Child and Family Centre.


Before pictures



After photos



Project: Clondalkin Tus Nua

Clondalkin Tus Nua was established in 1997 by a group of concerned parents. A community based response to the drug problems in the Southwest Clondalkin area.

As a community we sought solutions to our drug problem by developing practical and affective ways of working with the statutory agencies and service providers.

Through funding from the Health Service Executive, D.S.P. and the Clondalkin Drug and Alcohol Task Force, Clondalkin Tus Nua contact centre was opened in September 1999.

The project has developed into a unique community based addiction support centre providing a holistic and therapeutic service.

In September 2011 the project moved to a purpose built facility on the New Nangor Road with the help of Oakfield Trust who project managed the entire planning and site build of this facility.  In 2013 changed name from The Bawnogue Youth & Family Support Group to Clondalkin Tus Nua


Click here for website



Project: Recreate

ReCreate is a national social enterprise that takes end of line and surplus stock from businesses and reuses them as arts materials. Their warehouse is full to the brim with all types of fantastic arts materials such as paper, wool, plastics, fabric, tubing, foam and many other unusual and unexpected surprises.


We work with local and national businesses to collect unwanted and surplus items, for use in early childhood education, schools, colleges, special needs groups & community centres, and by individuals for art, craft, theatre and creative projects of all kinds.This helps local business produce less waste and helps our schools and communities to stretch their budgets and their imagination.


ReCreate is a project of Early Childhood Ireland, South Dublin County Partnership, Tallaght Community Arts, Oakfield Trust and community representatives. South Dublin County Council are also represented on the Board. We are passionate about bringing more play and creativity into people’s lives.


Tel.: 01 456 8798 | Email: | Website



Project: ACE  Enterprise Park

ACE Enterprise Park (ACE) is a Clondalkin based Community Enterprise Centre, established in 1995 by the local community to enhance the capacity of local people to enter and remain in employment. Among a range of supports, ACE offers 30,000 sq ft of high quality business space and practical business training to small enterprises. As a registered charity and independent social enterprise, ACE has a deep commitment to supporting and advancing the well-being of the local community. With the help of Oakfield Trust, Ace was able to refurbish their training rooms to the highest specifications.


. Shared Office Space Dublin          

ACE Enterprise Park runs a number of practical business workshops, which are designed to be immediately useful to small business owners. We deliver a variety of courses, which offer an invaluable insight into the key requirements for getting a business on track. The courses include taxation, cashflow management, sales & marketing, digital marketing and bookkeeping. We also conduct regular surveys to find out what courses are most relevant to clients, so that they are relevant and engaging.


August 2017

On July 26th, 2017, Marie Duffin, Manager of Oakfield Trust handed over €7768.00 to Recycle IT, a community organisation and social enterprise offering electrical recycling services in Dublin and surrounding areas.

This presentation of match funding by Oakfield Trust follows a successful application by Recycle IT for Dormant Accounts Funding through the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The combined funding will help increase recycling capacity and grow the numbers of people accessing employer based training to build skills for work.
Members of the Recycle IT board and staff team attended on the evening with Chairperson John McMackin expressing delight with the match funding contribution from Oakfield Trust.  John said, “this very generous support makes it possible to execute our plan to deliver community focused electrical recycling services, work experience and employment while also promoting a message of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Marie Duffin said “Oakfield Trust and its board members are pleased to support a fellow social enterprise enhance its operations which in turn supports local communities, employment and environmental goals.

Recycle IT board members in attendance to accept the cheque included, (left to right) Cecil Johnston, South Dublin County Partnership, John McMackin, DCU School of Business and Dermot Maguire, VHI.  Centrally pictured (left to right) is Marie Duffin, Manager of Oakfield Trust and Una Lavelle, Manager of Recycle IT.

To learn more about Recycle IT call 01 4578321, email or visit


June 2016

Now recruiting for voluntary Directors to join our Board of Management

Oakfield Trust support to a number or projects in the Clondalkin area, we are now recruiting for voluntary Directors to join our Board of Management.  We are looking for people with Financial and/or Legal skills in particular.  The Board of Management meet approximately every two months for 2 – 3 hours in total usually in the morning.  If you are interested, or require further information, please contact Marie Duffin at


Oakfield Trust, established in 1996 in Clondalkin, is a community based social enterprise. Oakfield Trust was established in response to the need from community based projects and agencies to find suitable premises in the Clondalkin area. At that time community projects were concerned with a number of property related issues as: availability and suitability of premises, location and quality of premises, rental rates, security of tenure and terms & conditions of tenancy agreements, e.g. length of leases etc.




CRA No: 20041861
Company Registered No: 256915
Registered Charity No: CHY 13443