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Everyone's a winner with Dublin Bus

CHILDREN'S groups and charities, environmental organisations and elderly care groups were all rewarded for their hard work and contributions to their communities at the seventh annual Dublin Bus Community Support Programme (CSP) Awards, which took place earlier today.

The awards were held in the Hogan Suite in the Croke Park Convention Centre where more than 100 charities and voluntary organisations from around Dublin and Greater Dublin were represented. Ireland soccer legend and chairman of Sunderland AFC, Niall Quinn was on hand to present the awards to the deserving groups.

What is different about these awards is that they are funded by the community, for the community. Everyone who does not claim their change receipts when they use Dublin Bus, is rewarding the groups. The awards, funded by these long-term unclaimed change receipts, are divided into amounts of €5,000, €2,000 and €1,000, with 10 groups being awarded the top grant of €5,000.

In the seven years that the programme has been running, hundreds of thousands of euro have been awarded to community groups and charities around the county. The grants are awarded under different categories: children, sport, people with disabilities, older people, environment and the local community and education in alcohol and drugs awareness, literacy, and health.

RTE personality Mark Kennedy hosted the awards where the groups enjoyed a special lunch provided by Dublin Bus. The 10 groups that received the top award of €5,000 covered many different aspects of Dublin life and offered different contributions -- from the environment, to carers and support groups for the elderly.

Crosscare Carer Support Programme has worked with family carers in north Dublin since 1993 and it won a €5,000 grant to fund classes to support young carers aged 12 to 18 years old.

The Summer Street North Residents' Committee was also awarded the top grant to implement a sustainable watering solution for their community garden, which the group has created from what was previously a dumping ground.

Another group rewarded with the top prize was Rothar for their environmental work. The group promotes environmental awareness by recycling bicycles and training young people from disadvantaged areas in Dublin in bicycle repair.

St Kevin's Family Resource Centre was awarded the top prize of €5,000 to establish a sustainable integrated youth arts group for young people with disabilities.

The Dales Centre were also awarded €5,000 to support the establishment of a grandparents support group in the Darndale Belcamp Moatview area. The other deserving winners in the top category were Willows Football Club, L'Arche Dublin, Arthritis Ireland, Scoil Cholmcille Senior National School and the Bellarose Foundation.

Speaking at the awards, patron Niall Quinn said, "In these difficult times, it is crucial that local communities work together to support each other."