The Aid Avengers and Isabel Connolly win big at the Ardonagh Community Trust (ACT) 'Bright Future Prize'


(22 May, 2024) - Two Cork entrants have been awarded significant funding for their innovative community projects by the prestigious international competition, the ACT (Ardonagh Community Trust) ‘Bright Future Prize’.

The Aid Avengers and Isabel Connolly were today announced as recipients of the prize fund by the country’s largest nationwide insurance broker, Arachas, which has origins based in Cork and now employs 45 in its Cork offices. The prize funding is available through Arachas’s parent company, The Ardonagh Group.

The Aid Avengers won the ‘Your Community’ category and will receive £10,000 (approx. €11,300) from the ACT to invest in their project. The team comprised of six TY students from Coláiste an Chroí Naofa in Carrignavar namely Carrie O’Shea, Louie Guichard, Mikayla O’Connell, Emma Florish, Robyn Firmo and Amy O’Sullivan, who all have the goal of raising awareness around first aid. The team are already running activities and workshops in their school with other institutions such as the RNLI and the fire brigade. They will also raise awareness in their local community through a petition campaign, with further plans next year to reach a wider audience, including primary school children.


Aid Avenger Carrie O’Shea said: “Being from a rural area, the importance of first aid knowledge is paramount to our community wellbeing. The average time it takes an ambulance to reach its destination is 19 minutes and in that time a life can be saved. We want to educate a new generation of first aiders and raise awareness of the importance of first aid. Thank you so much to ACT for helping us make our dream a reality!”

16-year-old Isabel Connolly, a student in Scoil Mhuire on Wellington Road will receive a grant of £2,500 (€2,915) to further develop her app ‘HerSportHub’ which centres around gender inclusivity in sport.

After noticing the high numbers of girls dropping out of sports in their teens, Isabel coded a dedicated app to cultivate a network of girls passionate about sports. The app aims to connect teens with clubs and groups in their area so they can access activities, showcase female role models in sports and share resources and events.


Isabel said: “I am absolutely honoured to be recognised by the Bright Future Prize and want to thank everyone at ACT for this life-changing prize fund. Statistically, girls quit sports at one-and-a-half times the rate of boys, and by 17, less than half of all teenage girls take part in any sport at all. This app is an opportunity for girls my age to form communities around the sports and games we love and help each other stay engaged and motivated.”

For the Bright Future Prize, applicants were asked to propose a project or a cause close to their heart and outline how they would use the funding to help make their chosen community better, brighter and stronger.

The prize is funded by Arachas’s international partner, The Ardonagh Group, whose charity, the ACT, (Ardonagh Community Trust), hosts the prize. Through this fund, the ACT, alongside Arachas and The Ardonagh Group, aim to empower teens with dreams to make a difference in their communities and create positive change. 


Joey Wynne, Arachas CEO said: “Congratulations to this year’s very inspiring winners, the Aid Avengers and Isabel. At Arachas, community is at the heart of everything we do, both internally by helping our colleagues, and externally by giving back to those around us. Sport and wellbeing are two passions for both me personally and the wider Arachas group, so I was so impressed by the innovative ideas developed. I look forward to seeing what these very talented young people do in future projects. This year’s process was especially competitive, with finalists from Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Portugal and South Africa. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they achieved and well done to all.”


Gearoid Fitzgerald, Regional Director Arachas South and Head of Business Development for Arachas said: “We are delighted to see two exceptional Cork-based community projects awarded significant funding as part of the ACT Bright Future Prize. Through this fund, our goal is to help Irish teenagers realize their potential, while supporting their communities. Both of these impressive winning projects will have a tangible, positive impact and I am excited to see them develop right here in Cork. Well done to The Aid Avengers and Isabel!”

Sarah James, ACT Manager explained: “Now in our third year of the Bright Future Prize, we were blown away by the calibre and reach around the world of our finalists, representing five countries, including The Aid Avengers and Isabel from Cork. Both exemplify the spirit of the ACT and the prize in their determination to make a difference. We can’t wait to see how the funding from the ACT enables them to lead positive change in Cork and beyond.”


For more information, please contact:

Fia Long 087 065 2495

 Notes for editors:

About ACT

The Ardonagh Community Trust (ACT) is the independent registered charity from which The Ardonagh Group carries out its targeted, community-focused charitable activities to create better, brighter and stronger futures for all.

As one of the world’s largest independent insurance broking groups, Ardonagh is home to a portfolio of brands focused on looking out for clients and their insurance and risk management needs. Through its global footprint of offices and c. 10,000-strong community of employees, the Group is uniquely wired into local areas around the world.

ACT gives all employees and local offices across The Ardonagh Group avenues to make a tangible difference to the causes close to their heart through a quarterly grant programme, match funding and volunteering. To date, the Trust – together with its supporters and Ardonagh colleagues – has raised over £5 million and given back to more than 700 different causes around the world.

For more information please visit:


About The Ardonagh Group

The Ardonagh Group is the UK’s largest independent insurance distribution platform and a top 20 broker globally. We are collection of best-in-class entrepreneurial and specialist brands with a network of over 200 locations and a combined workforce of c. 10,000 people.

Across our portfolio, we offer a highly diversified range of insurance-related products and services across the full insurance value chain in the UK, Ireland and broader international markets. From complex multinational corporations to individuals purchasing personal insurance policies, our understanding of the communities we serve, together with our scale and breadth, allows us to work with our insurer partners to deliver a broad range of product and risk solutions that meet customer needs.

Ardonagh is represented in Ireland by Arachas, the largest nationwide insurance broker in the country.

For more information, visit our website:


About Arachas

Arachas is the country’s largest nationwide Insurance broker with over 700 employees at 16 offices located throughout the country.

Our experts provide consultancy on the entire range of insurance products and services for commercial and domestic customers based on our long-standing relationships with clients and providers and unrivalled access to insurance data. Arachas can also uniquely provide complex insurance requirements via innovative sector specific schemes. We are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace and offers flexible working practices.

Arachas was originally founded in Cork in 2004 and since then has been bringing quality insurance brokers into the family such as Apex Insurance, to create an insurance powerhouse, now Ireland’s largest broker.

In Cork, we employ over 45 people, and our team of experts cover a broad range of insurance products to support Cork’s thriving business community.  Our client base in the South Region spans from SME’s to large corporates across a wide range of industries such as engineering, construction, leisure, hospitality, professional indemnity, contractors and much more.

Our ethos of giving back to our local communities is also central to who we are, and this takes the form of sponsorships in sport and the arts and fundraising for charities, including Cancer Fund for Children and locally in Cork, ARC Cancer Support House and Fort2Fort Cycle for the Mercy Hospital Foundation.