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Rethink Ireland Announces NOW Group as an Urban Uplift Fund Awardee

Updated: May 10, 2023

Promoting equity of opportunity and access to employment for young adults living in Dublin’s most disadvantaged areas.

Maeve Monaghan, CEO at NOW Group; Debra Crawley, Project Lead at An Cosán; Deirdre Mortell, CEO at Rethink Ireland; Jennifer Wickham at Generation Ireland and Elaine Nevin, CEO at ECO-UNESCO at the Urban Uplift Fund Photocall. Pic: Marc O'Sullivan

On Wednesday, 3rd May 2023, Rethink Ireland announced the Awardees of its Urban Uplift Fund. This is a €763,000 two-year fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, IBM United Kingdom Trust and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The four Awardees, including Now Group, will deliver innovative projects working to increase youth employment and youth employability in the green and digital sectors. The Urban Uplift Fund will support up to 200 marginalised young adults (aged 18-30 years) in learning transformative skills for the green and digital economies, helping to give them back their futures.

NOW Group is an award-winning social enterprise. Our mission is to support people with learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities, and neurodiverse conditions into jobs with a future. Our co-designed services are participant-led and employer-focused. This project will deliver pioneering approaches and academies which have evolved to meet participant aspirations and labour market challenges and will focus on supporting young people from Dublin Inner City into employment.

Speaking after the launch, NOW Group CEO Maeve Monaghan said;

"This is such an exciting next step for NOW Group as we begin to expand our work in the Dublin area. This project will target 36 (per year) young people living within areas of high deprivation within Dublin per year. Over the duration of the project, we will identify 72, 18–30-year-olds who have learning difficulties, and autism who have even greater risk of permanent exclusion and full participation in society. We will target cohorts of 8 young people to enter the project per quarter, with the expectation of 75% (54) of the total participants achieving vocational and accredited training. We will deliver our innovative and highly successful academy model to secure sustained employment for a minimum of 35% (26) young people over the 2 years of the project."

"Working closely with our established Loaf Cafe at Kilmainham (Inchicore Road, Dublin) this project will use our established catering academy model (initially, progressing to offering digital academies) to create employment and improve employability skills for young people. Our successful academy model supports vocational certification at a variety of levels from entry level to level 2. This is applied alongside relevant work experience to maximise opportunities for employment. We can create bespoke training alongside our job partners and social impact partners. This method not only supports employment opportunities for young people in greatest need of support but will also support employers with their labour market challenges."

Maeve finishes by saying "It is early days for NOW Group in Dublin but we are encouraging people with disabilities interested in hearing more to get in touch and register your interest."

For more information on NOW Group's services visit

As part of NOW Group's expansion into Dublin we are hiring a number of exciting roles. To learn more about our mission and to apply for these positions visit

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