In 2017, the Probation Service, in collaboration with the Irish Prison Service, submitted a proposal to access funding through the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Scheme in order to support the development of social enterprises operating within the criminal justice sector.
This fund is intended to support organisations with a new or existing social enterprise idea which will increase employment opportunities for people with criminal convictions who find it difficult to access the labour market as a result.
It is designed to either explore the feasibility of a social enterprise idea or to develop/expand an existing enterprise. For social enterprises already in operation, this fund is designed to build their capacity to avail of existing funding streams such as the Community Services Programme on offer by the Department of Social Protection.
It is intended that the fund will:
Support essential start-up activities for social enterprises operating within the criminal justice sector such as the undertaking of market research, feasibility studies and/or development of business models,
Cover costs, including staffing, associated with the development of some or all of the above activities,
Facilitate the purchase of equipment to support the key activities of Social Enterprises.