Connecting Communities: Activities for Children living in Direct Provision Centres Grant Programme 2020-2022

Grant Criteria


St Stephen’s Green Trust (SSGT) has had a grant programme for activities for children living in direct provision centres (DP) since 2014. The programme is funded by the four Sisters of Mercy Provinces and Porticus. The first phase of the grant programme (2014-2019) funded grassroots groups for the costs of activities for children(1) to participate in sporting, recreational and cultural activities with their peers in their local community. A 2019 evaluation of the programme, Healing the wound of isolation: letting children be children, can be downloaded here.

SSGT believes that children should not be living in DP or emergency centres. However, while they are, local and national state authorities should enable all children in DP to participate in extracurricular activities within their community to assist integration during a very difficult period for the families.

The current programme (2020-2022) operates as a challenge grant programme, requiring at least 50% of the cost of activities to be sourced elsewhere. SSGT can make a grant approval in principle based on the application and the grant will be paid when the other funds are received by the group. SSGT requires the inclusion of people living in DP in decisions on activities and we ask questions on our application form about this.

Groups which operate at a local level supporting families living in DP and emergency centres are eligible to apply. Activities which take place within the Centre or don’t involve integration with the local community are not eligible.

Grant programme criteria

  • The funded activities should increase children’s opportunities to integrate with peers in their community and improve their quality of life. The intention is to enable children leave the centre for at least one extra-curricular activity per week.
  • SSGT is operating this programme as a ‘challenge grant’ – the donor is ‘challenged’ to match the SSGT grant thereby doubling the value of their contribution. At least 50% of the cost of activities has to come from a funding source with the potential to become sustainable – local authorities, HSE, Tusla, IPAS, Centre owners/managers or other(2). In-kind donations, such as staff time, cannot be used as matched funding.
  • Due to limited resources we aim to prioritise the most vulnerable families, including lone parent families not in receipt of income other than the daily expenses allowance.
  • Groups should only apply for activities which cannot be funded from other sources.
  • Only one application per centre will be accepted, which may include several activities, depending on the interests of the children, age group and other factors. Where several groups are working in one DP centre, we request that they collaborate on applications.
  • Funding is only available for one activity per child with priority given to ongoing activities rather than one-off or time-limited activities.
  • We aim to be flexible about activities but expect they will use local community, cultural and sporting facilities in as cost-effective a manner as possible.
  • Transport costs are the single biggest barrier to children participating in activities outside DP centres. If lack of transport is preventing children from participating in activities, we ask groups to contact centre managers(3). Please contact SSGT in advance of applying for transport costs.
  • There is limited scope to include the costs of activities for children who have recently moved out of Centres. We rely on applicant groups to make a judgement but our expectation is no more than 15% to 20% of the cost of activities are for children living in the community (which can be provided for up to a year after the family has moved out of the Centre).
  • Grassroots community, voluntary and residents’ groups with a track record of supporting people in Direct Provision are eligible to apply.
  • The application form includes a question about the involvement of asylum seekers in the applicant group and in decision-making about activities.
  • The group receiving the grant is fully accountable for monies spent and should administer the grant. It should not be passed on to a third party.
  • Applicant groups have to have a minimum level of governance (preferably a registered charity) to be eligible for funding. We encourage compliance with the Charities Governance Code.

Process for applications

  • If your group is eligible and you want to apply, please contact us for an application form. There is a rolling deadline of 25th of each month and applications will take up to three weeks to be assessed.
  • Each group can apply for six months of activities but this can be discussed if the matched funder has other criteria. This fund is open for two years – Sept 2020 to Aug 2022.
  • Grant reports are requested after each grant has been spent. Groups with two or more outstanding grant reports will not be eligible for further grants. Please contact us for report forms.
  • Receipts do not need to be sent with the grant report but we may request sample copies for audit purposes.

Safeguarding policy

SSGT has a mandatory policy of only supporting organisations compliant with best practice in safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults. Questions are asked about this on our application form.

General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR)

SSGT has a GDPR-compliant data protection policy. SSGT only collects the minimum of personal information required for the grants process and ensures there is a lawful basis for all data collected. It commits to keeping data safe and secure. More information about our data protection and privacy policy is available here. There is now an opt-in requirement on our grant application forms.

For queries in relation to the grants please contact: Karen Ryan at or 085 755 2009.

Grant Programmes



(1) We define children as those aged up to 18yrs of age or in second-level school.

(2) We request matched funding from a state body or centre owner to encourage those with responsibility for the wellbeing of children living in DP to consider their leisure needs as required in the National Standards.

(3) The Department of Justice and Equality’s National Standards for accommodation offered to people in the protection process includes Standard 7.2: “The service provider ensures that public services, healthcare, education, community supports and leisure activities are accessible to residents, including children and young people, and where necessary through the provision of a dedicated and adequate transport.”

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