Now in its seventh year, in 2017 the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund will make €100,000 available for community projects that support and inspire young people across the island of Ireland.

With launches in both Dublin and Lisburn, the 2017 Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund went live across the island of Ireland in May with the energy and passion that only youth can bring. Blessed with some rare Irish sunshine, the events saw supporting partners, young people, previous winners of the Fund and Thank You Fund ambassadors come together to celebrate today’s young people and their sources of inspiration and support, while raising awareness of the €100,000 community grant scheme. 

This year the Thank You Fund will support projects that bridge the divide between education and the workplace, foster diversity and inclusion among young people or empower young people to become the leaders of the future.

Celebrating inspirational role models

The launch theme drew on research conducted by Coca‑Cola that showed that role models are an important source of inspiration and guidance for young people, with 63 percent of 12-17 year-olds and 50 percent of 18-25 year-olds saying they have a role model.

At the Northern Ireland event, held at the Coca‑Cola HBC plant in Lisburn, ambassador and broadcaster Pete Snodden was joined by Youth Action’s June Trimble and an array of young leaders from the local community. The launch also had the endorsement of community champion and activist Baroness May Blood MBE.

People standing by swing holding photos
Left to right: Matthieu Seguin, Pete Snodden, Laoise McMillan, Baroness May Blood MBE, Mike McCourt, Grace Stanley, June Trimble and Petre Sandru with photos of their role models
My trade union officer, Billy Man, was a role model for me – he continued to push me through education after I left school when I had few qualifications. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his inspiration. Baroness Blood, speaking about her personal role model

This celebratory mood was echoed at the second launch, held in the leafy St. Stephens Green park at the heart of Dublin city.  Youth Foundation’s Sabina Cotter was joined by ambassador and comedian PJ Gallagher, and Sport Against Racism Ireland’s Azeez Yusuffand and Aseel Bukhatwa – winners of a €10k grant from last year’s Fund.


People pose with photos, balloons and euro sign

Sharing a picture of his own personal role model, PJ Gallagher was delighted to help spread the word about the Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund, saying, “Fellow comedian Jason Byrne has always been there for me and helped guide me at an important time in my life. It’s good news that many young people have similar figures in their own lives.

We need to support young people so they can live up to their ambitions and that's why Coca‑Cola is making €100,000 available to non-profit and community groups this year. If you have an idea for a new project that will inspire and support young people, we want to hear from you. PJ Gallagher

Redefining success

The research showed that personal happiness is the most important measure of success among young people across Ireland and Northern Ireland, and they believe their happiness is more than three times as important as money when it comes to defining success. Furthermore, the findings show that young people are motivated, with 72 percent describing themselves as ambitious. However self-confidence is an important issue with 45 percent of young people describe their self-confidence as good but in need of improvement, while 10 percent say they have poor self-confidence. 


  • 72% of young people describe themselves as ambitious
  • 45% of young people describe their self-confidence as good but in need of improvement
  • 10% of young people say they have poor self confidence

Matthieu Seguin, General Manager, Coca‑Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland and Coca‑Cola Ireland Country Manager Petre Sandru attended both launches.

Matthieu said, “Our research points up that young people in Ireland are hopeful for their futures and have a mature interpretation of success. This high level of ambition is great to see – as a society we need to work with our young people to enable them to realise their potential.  Confidence is a big issue and we need to develop programmes that will allow young people to become the leaders of the future. The findings also point to a need to work with young people to help them bridge the divide between education and the workplace. In helping to address these issues, we want to support the great work that is already being done in communities across the country, and we look forward to seeing new and exciting ideas in the entries this year.”

The Coca‑Cola Thank You Fund is delivered in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation and Youth Action Northern Ireland. Applications should be received online before 14 July.