'Leave no Trace Behind' prepares to set sail on a confidence-building voyage with young people from a variety of backgrounds, thanks to €10,000 funding awarded from the 2017 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund.

On a wild and windy Monday afternoon (13th November) in Westport, Minister Michael Ring TD joined Coca‑Cola for a celebration with Mayo youth organisation, Leave No Trace Ireland following the awarding of €10,000 for their project 'Breath of Fresh Air'. 

In a collaboration with Safe Haven Ireland, Leave No Trace Behind's project will promote integration between communities in Ireland and empower young people at risk of social inclusion. It will provide young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including refugees and asylum seekers, the chance to take part in voyages along the Irish coastline on sailing boats. 

The project was one of 14 projects awarded funding through the 2017 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund, with a total of €100,000 granted this year to community groups with projects that will inspire and support young people. 

The judges selected this project for a larger grant as they felt that it was unique and compelling and that with the €10k investment the organisations could achieve a sustainable impact in their community.     


Amounting the sailing boat at Rosmoney Pier, with young people from nearby town Ballaghaderreen, Minister Michael Ring said, "I am delighted to be here today in Westport to recognise the great work that Leave No Trace Ireland is doing. It’s great news for them that they were one of the lucky recipients of a Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund grant this year. I am truly humbled by the people working in communities, not just in Mayo but throughout the island of Ireland and believe that the impact of the work they do with young people has an immeasurable impact on our society and our natural environment.


"The best way to reach young people and help them acquire skills that they will use throughout their lives is by getting them involved with groups that serve their passions. Leave No Trace’s programme, for example, is designed to make a strategic and impactful intervention in young people’s lives and our communities stand to benefit as participants go on to set a positive example among their peer group and protect their environment.”  

Ciara Cashen, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland also said, "We are delighted to invest in young people in our communities and it is important to us that the funding provided through the Thank You Fund is a catalyst for new thinking and helps support the delivery of projects and schemes that otherwise might not happen.

"Leave No Trace Ireland was a particularly engaging application and at the pitch phase our judges were inspired by the ambition of the programme and the impact it could have on the youth participants. I wish the project the best of luck as planning to implement their project gets underway.”

Programme Manager, Leave No Trace Ireland, Maura Lyons also said: “We are thrilled to have received €10,000 from the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund. Our project, Breath of Fresh Air, provides opportunities for young people from a variety of backgrounds to take part in voyages along the Irish coastline on sail training vessels. Young people growing up in Ireland today face multiple barriers to living healthy, happy and successful lives.

"Our programme tackles these issues by developing in young people the skills and behaviours that will lay the foundation for positive attitudes and behaviours throughout adolescence and into adulthood. We do this by exposing young people to new and challenging experiences in outdoor environments. All youths learn about the marine environment and their role in protecting it. Thanks to the funding from Coca‑Cola, we are able to continue the work we do.”

This was echoed by Shauna Gillan, CEO of parter organisatoin Safe Haven Ireland, who said, “New arrivals to Ireland are often at risk of social exclusion. As half of the participants on board are refugees or other recent migrants to Ireland, a cultural exchange is enabled as part of the project.  We have found sail training to be an ideal way to foster bonds between communities. Participants on board are thrown into an unfamiliar and exciting environment and leave the voyage having gained new skills. We usually see evidence of a heightened sense of self-esteem as well as better communication and team-working skills by the end of each voyage. Participants very often walk away with a new found love for the sea and the coastal environment, as well as an enhanced appreciation of the cultural differences, and similarities, between their different communities”