Bank of Ireland launches Begin Together Awards

Prize fund of over €200,000 to help reboot local economies across the island of Ireland

  • Awards will focus on the resilience and recovery of towns hit by COVID-19
  • Call for entries from towns large and small, north and south
  • Fund is part of wider €1 million Bank of Ireland support for local enterprise and community groups over coming months

13 July 2020 – Bank of Ireland today launched its 2020 Begin Together Awards with a prize fund of over €200,000 to support towns across the island of Ireland as they reboot and recover from the impact of COVID-19. The initiative will be fast-tracked to provide funding to winning towns by the beginning of October and directly assist their COVID-19 recovery.

This year, the awards will bring business and community groups together to support local recovery and rebuilding as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and the country gets back to work. 21 awards are involved with the overall winner receiving €50,000 and the title of Ireland’s ‘Most Enterprising Town’. There is also a prize of €20,000 for the winner of the ‘Rising Star’ award.

Speaking at the launch, Gavin Kelly, Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland’s Retail Ireland division, said:

“Our experience has shown that incredible things can be achieved when communities, business groups and local authorities come together to meet their own challenges and make their own opportunities. This year, COVID-19 has presented the biggest challenge to our physical, mental and financial wellbeing in living memory, which makes that ‘can-do’ enterprising spirit more important than ever. Through the lockdown, Bank of Ireland took immediate steps to support our customers and the national effort. Now, as the country moves to recovery, we’re focussed on practical initiatives that can help Ireland to ‘reboot’. Through the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Awards we are supporting businesses and communities across the island of Ireland as they restart and get back on their feet.”

Reflecting the challenge that communities and businesses currently face as a result of the pandemic there are three special COVID-response awards:

  • Local Town Promotion Initiative – A marketing or promotional campaign designed to help kick start the local economy.
  • Local Community Enterprise Initiative – A local enterprise initiative established specifically to ease the impact of COVID-19 or one that repurposed itself during the pandemic and was ready to begin operation on the easing of restrictions.
  • Local Business and Community Response Initiative – A joint initiative by local businesses and the community to manage the impact of COVID-19 through lockdown and beyond as towns start to reopen.

The closing date for entries is 24 August. For more information on the awards, please visit


Notes to Editor

Bank of Ireland Begin Together initiative

Following the donation of €1 million in emergency funding to communities impacted by COVID-19 in March, Bank of Ireland will be injecting an additional €1 million to local communities and a range of organisations over the coming months. This will be disbursed primarily through the Bank of Ireland Begin Together programme, which has a number of initiatives including:

  • the Begin Together Awards to support local enterprise in towns across the island of Ireland;
  • the Begin Together Fund supporting local community groups and charities, which is managed through the Community Foundation for Ireland;
  • and the Begin Together Fund for Colleagues which will further support those local not-for-profit organisations which our Bank of Ireland colleagues are personally involved with.

Begin Together Awards – Prize Categories

Population categories:

  • 0-2000
  • 2,001-4,000
  • 4,001-7000
  • 7,001-14,000
  • 14,000+

Winner of each population category €10,000
Runner Up of each population category €5,000

Special category awards:

  • Local Business and Community Response Initiative
    Winner €20,000 (Runner Up €5,000)
  • Local Town Promotion Initiative
    Winner €10,000 (Runner Up €5,000)
  • Local Community Enterprise Initiative
    Winner €10,000 (Runner Up €5,000)

City Award
Winner €10,000 (Runner Up €5,000)

Rising Star
Winner €20,000 (Runner Up €5,000)

Overall winner
€40,000 plus €10,000 as winner of population or city category.