Michelle Taite presents to the Champion Changemaker team.

'A place where everyone is welcome'

An ambitious project to help build “communities of balance and wellness” in Cavan was chosen as a finalist for an All-Ireland social enterprise award.

Blank Canvas is the brainchild of Michelle Taite, an Anglo-Celt reporter, who has made the final cut in the Champion Changemaker competition. The final was held in Dublin’s Social Innovation Hub on Thursday, October 20 with Gavin Duffy of Dragons’ Den fame on the four-strong judging panel.

While there were 13 finalists in total for the awards, hosted by Community Enterprise Association Ireland, the Mullagh native is one of four competing in the Economic Equality category.

Michelle was in her final year of college when someone very close to her took their own life. Since then, she noticed the growing number of people who were struggling mentally and wanted to help.

“Blank Canvas will be a place where everyone is welcome,” explained Michelle. “The non-profit organisation will inspire and support its members to become whoever they want to be. It will house a range of activities, which are known to aid in mental balance including sport, music, art, DIY and much more. Acceptance will be part of its philosophy, as it will be a place where there is zero judgement, and community engagement is encouraged.”

While Michelle was not successful on this occasion, she is hoping to explore other avenues of making her vision a reality.

The overall winner will receive a €10,000 bursary.