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Sunday 20 October 2019

'Win a house' sports club raffles giving a boost to local communities

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Alan O'Keeffe

Community spirit and a nationwide shortage of homes have made GAA 'win a house' raffles the most ambitious fundraisers in Ireland.

An unusual alliance between a GAA club and a soccer club in the village of Kilcoole in County Wicklow will result in a raffle for a new house worth €400,000 in the village on April 6. Members of Kilcoole GAA and Saint Anthony's FC have been selling tickets for €105 with a maximum entry of 10,000 tickets.

"The two clubs will divide equally whatever profit is made," said Patrick 'Pappy' Frawley of Kilcoole GAA.

"There was a surge in sales at the beginning but we need to sell more tickets to ensure we raise substantial funds for both clubs. The builder Derek Burton and his son Mark from Knockree Developments have been very supportive," he said.

Tickets for the three-bedroom home are on sale at www.winakoolhouse.ie.

Raffling houses became popular in the GAA decades ago but later interest waned. But the current housing shortage may have helped to rekindle interest.

One of the bigger success stories recently was the County Roscommon GAA raffle for a house built in Dublin 15. Backed by clubs around the county, raffle ticket sales topped €1.4m. The county coffers in Roscommon were enriched by more than €900,000 to fund GAA projects.

'Win a Feckin House' was the working title of the December raffle for a new four-bed house in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, organised by St Fechin's GAA Club, to fund a new community centre.

Meath GAA last year launched a hugely ambitious bid to raffle three new houses in Navan at different dates up to March 2020 to raise between €1.5m and €1.8m for the redevelopment of their Pairc Tailteann grounds in Navan.

Alan Milton, Director of Communications at GAA headquarters in Croke Park, said: "House raffles are not that common because of the risk factor to sell so many tickets.

"Sometimes these raffles come from a fruitful relationship with a developer. Most fundraising does not take place at that high level. Some clubs are ingenious with the schemes they come up to raise money," said Mr Milton, citing 'Strictly Come Dancing' nights, amateur film festivals, and auctions.

"Some rural clubs are incredible with the energy and expertise they bring to fundraising schemes which is borne out by the facilities built in parishes around Ireland," he said.

In Letterkenny, St Eunan’s GAA Club is holding its 10th house draw. The club suspended draws during the recession, but brought them back two years ago.

The winner of the 2017 draw was a Co Sligo man living in London.

This time around an A-rated three-bedroom home is the prize, with tickets selling for €100.

“It’s a lot different selling tickets now than it was 15 years ago,” said St Eunan’s draw coordinator Ciaran Haran.

“We set up our own website so our sales have gone global. We’ve sold tickets in 22 countires, mostly to expats.”

Tickets can be bought online at gaahousedraw.com

Sunday Independent

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