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Volunteer-led initiative ‘Lean on Me’ connects local businesses and their loyal supporters

Lean on me Limerick: (l to r) Patrick Fitzgerald, GRID Finance, John Moran, LiveableLimerick, Miriam O’Connor, Sellors Solicitors, Joe Brooks, LiveableLimerick, Will Ryan, Limerick Post, Sean Ryan, elive. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

Volunteer-led initiative ‘Lean on Me’ connects local businesses and their loyal supporters

A new voluntary initiative has been launched in Limerick to connect local businesses and their loyal supporters. 

Lean on me is an initiative devised by #LiveableLimerick and a group of local volunteers to help local Limerick businesses. The new volunteer-led initiative uses smart technology to connect customers who want to support their favourite local business. The aim of Lean on me is to act as a conduit between every person who feels that they can contribute some cash and their favourite business.

The new web portal allows customers to pay for a voucher for their chosen local business which is collected at a later date after the business reopens.

The initiative especially helps business that doesn’t have the existing IT infrastructure to generate very essential cash flow and sell vouchers online. The overall goal of Lean on me is to re-start the cashflow for local businesses. While businesses may have closed their doors and the cash dried up – the bills have not. 

Lean on me wants to ensure that local businesses re-open and flourish when the time is right. The people of Limerick’s immediate support will help business to re-open in the coming months.

The businesses hosted on Lean on me are businesses that everyone really wants to see open when we return back to normal. They are businesses that mean something to you (and us!). They are businesses that are not big enough to survive this on their own. The list of criteria is short, but it is important that as many people and businesses as possible get involved.

Chair of #LiveableLimerick and founding member of Lean on me, John Moran, said “Limerick is, above all, a county with a strong sense of community and belonging. We know how to survive by supporting each other. Lean on me looks to help our small businesses out by allowing them to rely on all of us just a little to get through this.

Even €10 makes a big difference to a small business if enough people are able to contribute. Small and medium enterprises employ a substantial amount of people in both Limerick City and County they sustain a greater number of families through employment and operating in local areas. We want this to continue.”

lean on me limerick

(l to r) Will Ryan, Limerick Post, John Moran, LiveableLimerick, Patrick Fitzgerald, Grid Finance, Miriam O’Connor, Sellors Solicitors, Joe Brooks, LiveableLimerick, Sean Ryan, elive. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

The online portal was built by Sean Ryan and his team at elive (a local Limerick business) while Pat Fitzgerald and his team at Grid Finance (another local business) will manage the safe transfer of funds from the customer to the business. This process is supported by a wider team of local volunteers from all different types of backgrounds but with one aim – to keep our favourite businesses going.

Sean Ryan, Managing Director of elive and member of Lean on me, said, “It is great to see such a community spirit when it comes to supporting local business. Being part of a local business myself I know how important this will be in keeping them going. It is great to see such a large amount of local businesses looking to support other local business, from Pat and his team at Grid Finance to Will’s team at the Limerick Post and Miriam’s team at Sellors everyone showed a real appetite to volunteer their time from the get-go and get this system up and running.

The process is really straight forward the customer comes to and they select their amount and their chosen business input their payment information and that’s it. They will receive a confirmation receipt and the retailer will reach out letting them know how to redeem their voucher”

The idea started when local business leaders John Moran and Joe Brooks found a shared desire to support their favourite local Limerick businesses throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period. Since then, they have rallied the troops, using the #LiveableLimerick network and found no shortage of volunteers with Will Ryan of the Limerick Post, local economist Seán Golden and Miriam O’Connor of Sellors Solicitors quickly showing an interest in getting involved.

The Lean on me team now stands at 10 direct volunteers with much more help coming from the wider community in Limerick as the days go on. Because of the travel restrictions, the team would particularly like to have other local business champions from all across the county make contact to see how the network of participating businesses to be supported can be expanded. The businesses currently volunteering their time to set up and support lean on me are RHH International, Limerick Post, Grid Finance, Sellors Solicitors, elive and Tola.

Founding member of Lean on me, Joe Brooks, said, “These are businesses that we all care about, they are part of the fabric of Limerick City and County. They provide us with our daily coffee, our groceries, clothing and even the odd social gathering at the weekend. We want and need, to see these businesses reopen.

To let these businesses fight this period on their own does not coincide with the Limerick spirit. While we appreciate and empathise with many people not being in a position to continue to support their local favourite business, we hope there are many people out there that are lucky enough to still be in a position to offer support now when their local business needs it more than ever.”

The website is live now with business and customers both being able to start supporting each other. While the process is simple, it will go a long way in helping the local business that we care most about.

After all, SMEs in Limerick account for more than 44% of total employment, they are often the linchpin of many local communities and they are the businesses where many of us began our careers.

For vendors, they register their details on and supply the relevant information then create awareness amongst the local community that they are now “open for business”. For customers it is just as easy, log on to purchase a coupon (or coupons) for your business of choice and the retailer will reach out to you directly to discuss how you can redeem your voucher(s). 

For further information Contact Seán Golden at [email protected]

For more info on #LiveableLimerick, click here.

For more business stories, click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.