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BNest offers support to Ododo a new social enterprise focusing on mental health

Ododo was able to get their feet off the ground with the help of BNest, the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator Programme in Ireland. BNest 2017-2018 incubator programme graduation ceremony Eamon Ryan, founder BNest, Gert O’Rourke, UL Nexus Innovation Centre, Kasia Zabinska, BNest, BNest graduate Catherine O’Brien from Ododo, Carmel Fox, Ballyhoura Development Company and Emily Duffy, inventor of the Duffily Bag. Closing date for applications for the 2018/2019 programme is August 15. Picture: Sophie Goodwin/ilovelimerick.

BNest offers support to Ododo a new social enterprise focusing on mental health

Ododo is a social enterprise that was developed by Catherine O’Brien, a special-needs teacher, personal and business coach.

The purpose of Ododo is to improve the mental health of parents of children with special needs so that they can be happier, healthier and better able to cope with life and their families. The provision of a parent or guardian engaged support could improve the quality of life for both the parent and the child with special needs.

Talking about why she chose to develop Ododo, Catherine said: “When I was working as a teacher a lot of parents came to me. They were very stressed and had difficulty in getting information. There is little knowledge for parents and families of children with special needs. They need to fight for everything to get something. ”


Ododo alleviates the barriers to mental health care for parents and guardians of children with special needs. Online courses in contemplative practice develop habits of nourishing and stimulating new patterns of thought and behaviour. Ododo brings with professional knowledge of the special educational needs sector, meditation and mindfulness techniques, yoga therapy and personal and professional coaching in the programme.

“There is a lack of resources in this country for the mental health of parents themselves and the families, not just for children,” she added.

The reason Catherine developed Ododo is that there is a necessity for establishing an accessible project for parents of children with special needs to sort out both mental and financial problems.  “Money is not invested in this area. Companies and the public are not able to see these children and their families struggling every day. So policymakers don’t take it into account.” said Ms. O’Brien.

Ododo was able to get their feet off the ground with the help of BNest, the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator Programme in Ireland which caters to all types of organisations from non-profits to community enterprises to businesses with a social conscience. BNest offers a six-month peer programme at no cost to participating organisations and is dedicated to helping businesses that want to make a social impact.

Catherine took part in the BNest incubator programme last year with a vague idea of the project that she intended to work on but BNest helped her to build up the programme. “I had nothing concrete,” said Catherine, “When I went to BNest, everything was stripped away and it was built up from not what I did but how I did it and why I did it. So I started to focus on the reason of doing it.”

BNest provided her with sufficient support, knowledge, and care during the establishment of Ododo, and they continued supporting her after the programme was completed.

Catherine said her ultimate goal with Ododo is for “parents to be able to be the best advocacy for their children. I want to start conversations on the mental health of families with special-needs children as well as to get more people in tune with what’s going on.”

You can apply for the BNest peer programme now but closing date for applications is August 15. The BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Programme 2018/2019 begins September 7, 2018. Apply at

For more information on Ododo, go here

For more information or application on BNest programmes, go here

For more stories on BNest, go 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.