National Lottery has good cause to honour Cork's 'unsung heroes'
'These awards will show how ordinary people do extraordinary things in their communities'
Over the more than three decades since the National Lottery was founded it has generated more than €5 billion for a wide variety of good causes spanning many different categories and interests across the length and breadth of Ireland.
In fact, almost 30c in each €1 spent on National Lottery games - or a staggering €619,000 per day - goes back to good causes with €226 million being fed back into communities across the country last year alone.
In Cork alone thousands of projects have benefited though the Good Causes initiative, among them the Fermoy-based Blackwater Sub Aqua Club, whose chairman Timmy Carey said the finding has been "crucial" to its very survival. A new award scheme unveiled this week by Cork Olympic heroes Rob Heffernan and his wife Marian is set to highlight the and honour the work done by Good Causes fund recipients.
Under the inaugural National Lottery Good Causes initiative awards will be handed out under the following categories; sport, health & well-being, arts/culture, heritage, community, youth affairs and the Irish language.
The awards are open to those who received Good Causes funding in 2014, 2015 and 2016, with county and regional category finals leading up to the gala awards dinner in November. Each national category winner will receive a cool €10,000 and the overall Good Cause of the Year an additional €25,000. National Lottery CEO Dermot Griffin said it was fitting that the work done by Good Causes recipients in helping to shape their respective communities shown be publicly recognised and rewarded.
"This money, whether it be six-figure sums or smaller amounts has, and continues to, make a significant impact. Through these awards, we want to show how ordinary people, organisations, clubs and projects are doing extraordinary things in their communities," said Mr Griffin.
"The National Lottery is used to celebrating winners. However, we have thousands of unsung heroes who work quietly under the radar to make positive changes and these awards reflect their dedication and commitment," he added. Rob Heffernan said he was delighted to be asked to launch the initiative.
"I have seen for myself the positive impact that National Lottery funding has had in communities across Ireland. As someone who has benefited myself though the Good Causes initiative, I am thrilled to be associated with these awards," he said.
Applications for the Awards are now open and people can enter and check eligibility at www.lottery.ie/good-causes-awards.