We’ve seen and heard first-hand the stories of tragedy and triumph that have led to societal change, and we’re so grateful to RTÉ for the opportunity to now share these stories with a national audience.

The social entrepreneurs featured in this series are some of the most inspiring and committed people that you will ever meet, but they all started with a small idea.

Darren RyanFormer CEO Social Entrepreneurs Ireland

Changing Ireland:


Brought to you by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Changing Ireland: My Big Idea is a six part docuseries produced for RTÉ One. The series follows the journey of social entrepreneurs from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland community who are tackling some of the biggest challenges we face as a country – from health, to housing, to food waste — people whose Big Ideas are Changing Ireland.

Over 3 million views for the series to date.
Consistently in the list of ‘Top Most Viewed’ shows on RTÉ player.
Series hashtag #ChangingIreland trended nationally on Twitter during every episode.
35+ pieces of media coverage with a reach in excess of 2 million.

Changing Ireland: My Big Idea

The six-part series featured social entrepreneurs from the SEI community who work to solve some of Ireland’s biggest social problems – from health, to housing, to food waste. We were also introduced to the people directly affected by these problems, and given an insight into how their lives were transformed for the better because of the work of our alumni.

The series aired on RTÉ One from 16th March to 20th April 2020 and was given a second run from 7th September to 12th October 2020. To date, it has attracted over three million views.

Meet the Social Entrepreneurs

In Changing Ireland: My Big Idea we meet people working to solve some of Ireland’s biggest social challenges — from health, to housing, to food waste — people whose big ideas are Changing Ireland.

Founder - AsIAm

Adam Harris

AsIAm is Ireland's national Autism charity and advocacy organisation working to deliver real inclusion and understanding for all.

People living with autism often experience discrimination and exclusion in school, in the jobs market and in social circles. This is because few members of the public have received the knowledge they need to build an autism-friendly society. AsIAm is committed to changing this by developing a strong, well informed and vibrant autism community and working with society more broadly to increase understanding of autism.

AsIAm believes that by engaging society in gaining a greater insight into autism and by empowering autistic people and their families with the tools to advocate for themselves and the broader autism community, we can build a truly inclusive, accessible Ireland

“Starting a social enterprise can be scary as you might be the only person who can really see your vision turning into reality. It can feel like you will never get the backing or funding that you need. Go with it though! If you believe you have an idea that can change Ireland, don’t underestimate the power of your passion to recruit supporters and build a movement. It takes time but if you put the work in it will happen.”

Adam Harris,

(Former) CEO, Irish Men's Shed Association

Barry Sheridan

The Irish Men’s Shed Association (IMSA) is a member-based organisation which exists to maintain links and share information among the network of men’s shed in Ireland.

Men in Ireland face a number of challenges around poor mental and physical health, suicide and the loss of community cohesion. Men’s Sheds address all of these issues by addressing their root cause: social isolation.

Each Men’s Shed is a community space where men of all ages and backgrounds can come together, share skills, make new friends and connect with others in their locality.

As a nationwide, member-focused, grassroots community initiative, the Irish Men’s Sheds Association has the capacity to transform the lives of all those who come into contact with it; sometimes subtly, sometimes in a more profound way

“Solving big problems takes time, passion and energy will bring you so far but you need a plan. When you feel like giving up always think about why you started.”

Barry Sheridan,
(Former) CEO

Co-Founders - FoodCloud

Iseult Ward & Aoibheann O’Brien

FoodCloud is a social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food to local charities and community groups in Ireland.

33% of all food produced worldwide is wasted. FoodCloud was the brainchild of two young students from Trinity College Dublin – Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward. The initial idea was disarmingly simple – use an app to connect those with surplus food with those who need it.

The FoodCloud app allows supermarkets to quickly notify local charities of any surplus food they have that is good to eat. FoodCloud’s warehouses allow them to collect larger quantities of surplus food, store it and distribute appropriate amounts to charities.

To date, FoodCloud has enabled the redistribution of food equivalent to 75 million meals. Their big idea has been recognised internationally has scaled across Ireland and the UK.

Founder - Irish Community Rapid Response

John Kearney

Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) is a charity delivering professional pre-hospital A&E care directly to the site of emergencies throughout Ireland.

Irish Community Rapid Response – By Land and Air are committed to providing safe, effective, and timely emergency medical care to those seriously ill or injured in Ireland through the provision of a network of volunteer doctors, Rapid Response Vehicles and a dedicated Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

The preventable loss of a child’s life in West Cork in 2006 was the catalyst that led to the formation of Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR). Galvanised by the tragedy, community members embarked on a mission: to expedite the delivery of professional A&E care to life-threatening emergencies in rural or disadvantaged urban areas.

“Every social entrepreneur needs to persevere with their solutions, know that your ability to think differently can benefit society in many ways by solving the problems of today and tomorrow”

John Kearney,

Co-Founder - Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance

Hugh Brennan

Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance CLG. (Ó Cualann) is a voluntary housing co-operative that builds and supports affordable houses in fully-integrated and sustainable communities across Ireland.

Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance develops and supports fully-integrated communities. It delivers well-designed, top-quality, energy-efficient homes at an affordable price.

Ó Cualann’s co-operative model for affordable housing can be replicated and scaled across the country.

Ó Cualann is working with local authorities and like-minded groups to change the way housing is delivered in Ireland.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and believe in your idea.”

Hugh Brennan

Founder - The Shona Project

Tammy Darcy

The Shona Project is a website and survival kit for girls, by girls. It aims to empower and celebrate girls.

The Shona Project aims to educate, empower, and inspire today’s Irish girls to become tomorrow’s strong, resilient and confident young women. Through our workshops, events and online platforms, we want to make sure that every girl has access to:

• Information and advice on all the challenges they face such as relationships, body image, bullying, social media, school & exam stress, mental health, sexuality or gender identity

• Positive female role models across all sectors, but specifically in the areas of sports, STEAM, business, the arts and social activism.

• An online community which encourages and celebrates difference and diversity, and a safe place to share their own personal stories.

“Surround yourself with good people who believe in you, and in your vision. They are your best resource.”

Tammy Darcy,

Founder - Prepare Me

Caitriona Watters-Crehan

Prepare Me creates resources that prepare children and adults with/without additional needs to have informed experiences in everyday settings.

Prepare Me creates resources to prepare children and adults with additional needs for everyday activities. For those with an intellectual disability, autism or a communication difference, it can be challenging to feel empowered, safe, and understand what to expect during some activities or experiences.

Through an interactive website, video models, picture books, visual schedules and resource packs, Prepare Me helps people prepare for what a ‘typical’ experience in a particular setting will be like, before they even arrive.

“If you are worried about being too ordinary to be able to create change, don’t be. Being ordinary is what allows you to see a problem that can be solved”

Caitriona Watters-Crehan

Founder - AgriKids

Alma Jordan

AgriKids is a farm safety education platform that aims to engage, educate, and empower children to be farm safety ambassadors.

A farm is considered the most dangerous workplace, with farmers more likely than any other worker to be killed at work. AgriKids has developed classroom resources, storybooks, and a gaming app to educate children about farm safety. Having now educated over 28,000 children in farm safety, AgriKids’ ambition is to create a farm safety culture that is instinctive and widespread, significantly reducing accidents and deaths that occur on farms.

“Always remember who you are trying to help or what problem you are trying to solve, your activities and resources should always align to this. Tempting opportunities, commercial or otherwise, may pop up along the way, but if they do not complement your social goals and desired impacts, let them pass you by…….. your short term gain could be a long term loss.”

Alma Jordan


Kindly supported by
Permanent TSB
Kindly supported by
The One Foundation
Kindly supported by
DCC plc.

Thank you for making it possible to share these stories with a national audience.

‘Changing Ireland: My Big Idea’ was produced by Areaman Productions for RTÉ One, in association with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.