Royal London helping to build financial resilience and move fairly to a sustainable world

Royal London’s Changemakers programme Last year, Royal London launched its Changemakers programme, committing £1.5 million (€1.75 million) over three years to support social enterprises in Ireland and the UK.

The programme sought ‘changemakers’ that had created bold and innovative ideas to improve financial resilience and help protect against life shocks, such as illness, divorce or change in income. Social enterprise, ‘Jobs for Family Carers’, set up by Fiona O’Neill in Tipperary was one of 10 changemakers selected to participate in 2021.

And now, the 2022 Changemakers programme is open and seeking applications for 10 new social enterprises which are helping to build financial resilience or supporting a fair transition to a sustainable world. Noel Freeley, CEO at Royal London Ireland, commented, “Royal London is a purpose-driven modern company with a mutual mindset.

Our Changemakers programme aims to accelerate social innovation in two key areas – building financial resilience and moving fairly to a sustainable world. This year, we will welcome 10 new social ventures aligned with these two areas as our newest changemakers.

“We are looking for organisations across Ireland and the UK which have set up social enterprises aimed at either helping people be more financially secure and prepared, or helping individuals, businesses and communities make fair and inclusive changes to transition to net zero.

“‘Fair and inclusive’ means we want to ensure that positive climate action supports an inclusive and sustainable economy and avoids exacerbating existing injustices or creating new ones. In simple terms, ensuring that the people affected are taken into account. This could mean enabling access to, or training for, ‘green’ jobs and supporting existing ‘green’ jobs, or enabling organisations or industries to imagine and develop new approaches and innovations.

It can also include helping those affected by the transition to net zero to reskill or retrain, to elevate their skillset and enable them to thrive.” Royal London’s Changemakers programme will provide the 10 selected social enterprises with grants of up to €24,000 and business support from industry experts.

This will help them achieve their goals and scale their businesses, strengthening their ability to drive meaningful change and use their business as a force for good.

We’re delighted to open applications for the next cohort of changemakers and help facilitate them to achieve their goals, grow their businesses and continue to provide valuable support to vulnerable groups.

Irish Changemaker – Jobs for Family Carers

One of the social enterprises welcomed to the Changemakers programme last year is Tipperary-based ‘Jobs for Family Carers’, set up by Fiona O’Neill. Fiona said about her experience so far, “When I first heard about the Changemakers programme, I realised it would be a brilliant opportunity to grow and develop Jobs for Family Carers, enabling us to give more Family Carers a voice.

A year into the programme, I can say it has been a valuable experience so far. As well as receiving funding and a business mentor within Royal London Ireland, I’ve been supported by the Changemakers programme partner, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). Both Royal London and SSE truly understand the importance of the work we do, the challenges we face and are helping me to grow the business.

I’m excited to continue to work with Royal London and SSE so we can help build financial resilience for more Family Carers in Ireland, by providing much-needed support and opportunities. And I’d encourage any other social enterprises considering applying for the Changemakers programme to do so!” A carer is someone who looks after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness).

As a carer in Ireland, you cannot be engaged in employment, training or education courses outside the home for more than 18.5 hours a week without losing access to your carer’s allowance*, which means caring responsibilities often impact your financial security. That’s why Fiona created Jobs for Family Carers. As a Family Carer herself, she recognised the difficulties of regular employment in the modern job market. Jobs for Family Carers offers a space for both ends of the jobs market: carers can look for jobs that work around their commitments, and employers can find employees to fill their vacancies.

This ensures those who provide an invaluable service to society can also feel the benefits of paid employment, without having to give up their caring duties and allowance. Fiona also works with employers to highlight the small changes they can make to ensure their companies are more mindful of the needs of Family Carers when making decisions about job vacancies.

This in turn can open up a whole new market of potential candidates with skilled backgrounds, who previously may not have considered the role as it would have had an impact on their caring responsibilities. Noel commented, “For some Family Carers in Ireland, their career options, opportunities for progression and earning potential are adversely affected by their caring activities. Securing part-time work that allows them to continue as a Family Carer helps to build their financial resilience and enables their career progression too, which all has a major impact on their psychological, social and emotional resilience.

“We encourage Financial Brokers to take a look at the organisation’s website, You can submit the details of any part-time vacancies you have in your business and connect with skilled professionals in your area who may be a good fit for the role.” Noel concluded, “At Royal London, we’re committed to reducing the impact of life shocks for as many people as possible, and doing what’s best for our customers, Financial Brokers and the planet.

One year into the Changemakers programme, it’s been great to see what these social enterprises have accomplished so far. We’re delighted to open applications for the next cohort of changemakers and help facilitate them to achieve their goals, grow their businesses and continue to provide valuable support to vulnerable groups.” Recruitment for existing social enterprises began on 29 March 2022 through The School for Social Entrepreneurs and this year’s changemakers will be announced in Q3 2022. If you know of any potential changemakers in your communities, please encourage them to apply.

More information and details on how to apply can be found on Royal London’s website: * Carer’s Allowance (