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With extreme isolation, inequality, and limited access to education and jobs just some of the issues faced by ex-prisoners, it’s no wonder 54% will return to prison within three years.

Ex-prison officer Stephen Plunkett is helping to address this with U-Casadh, a mentoring and practical support programme designed to re-integrate ex-prisoners into society.

Business to Arts
Business to Arts ( (STUART MCLAUGHLIN)

For a nation so steeped in the arts and culture, the recession has brought with it the very real risk that the talents of this and future generations won’t have the chance to flourish. Pressure for funding in this traditionally subsidised area is growing, and employment opportunities are contracting, especially for younger artists with ‘unproven’ ideas.

Stuart McLaughlin, from Business to Arts, is fighting back! He and his team have established, a unique web platform which enables the public to fund creative projects in return for creative rewards!

West Cork Rapid Response (JOHN KEARNEY)

Imagine you’ve been involved in a major accident. The first hour of your treatment is critical - literally the difference between life or death, but you live hours away from essential emergency services. What do you do?

John Kearney and his community took matters into their own hands and set up West Cork Rapid Response. By using local voluntary resources more efficiently, it brings to rural areas the same standard of intensive care drugs, equipment and skills you will find in the best hospitals in Europe.

Vivartes - Open Window (DENIS ROCHE)

We all want to be cared for in later life and stay connected to our families and friends. But for many people, long term residential care can result in exclusion and isolation.

Denis Roche has found a solution to this through ‘Open Window’, an interactive, over-the-web platform which enables patients to remain close to their families, friends and the outside world.

Hand on Heart Enterprises
Hand on Heart Enterprises (JAMIE REGAN)

With massive unemployment in Ireland today, developing job opportunities for people with disabilities has never been more important.

Using a new 'social enterprise' model, Hand on Heart Enterprises brings together people with different disabilities who, by breaking a task down into its constituent parts, work as a team no different to people without disabilities.

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