National Lottery Good Causes Awards – shining a light on the extraordinary work impacting on communities all over Ireland
Seven inspiring groups from all over Ireland have been named as winners in the inaugural National Lottery Good Causes Awards, aimed at honouring the extraordinary work taking place in communities all over Ireland.
The 36 finalists from around the country mixed with the stars as they gathered for a glittering awards ceremony in the Clayton Burlington Hotel in Dublin. The Children’s Grief Centre in Co Limerick was announced as overall National Lottery Good Cause of the Year winner, with the centre also winning the Youth Category.
Each category winner received a prize of €10,000 while the Children’s Grief Centre received an additional €25,000 as the overall winner.
The other winners were:
• Community: North Offaly Community Development Network
• Arts & Culture: Waterford Healing Arts Trust
• Sports & Recreation: Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team
• Heritage: St. Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee, Co Leitrim
• Health: Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI), Co Dublin
• Irish Language: Raidió Rí-Rá, Co Dublin
Famous faces on the night
The star-studded awards were hosted by TV presenter Karen Koster. Among the famous faces who helped to present the awards were award-winning actor Colin O’Donoghue, TV presenter Alan Hughes, Irish Olympian race walker Rob Heffernan, Former ‘Rose of Tralee’ Maria Walsh, best-selling cookery author Roz Purcell and TV presenter Síle Seoige.
Other well-known faces who turned out included Lotto presenters Nuala Carey, Bláthnaid Treacy and Kamal Ibrahim while the chair of the judging panel, broadcaster and businessman Bobby Kerr, was there with his wife, Mary.
National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin, congratulated the winners on their awards but he emphasised all the finalists were winners in their own right.
“It is fitting that Ireland’s unsung heroes, who work quietly under the radar to improve lives and make a difference, are honoured in these inaugural National Lottery Good Causes Awards,” he said. “Their work often goes unrecognised – but it is so valued.”
More than 30c in every €1 spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes in the areas of health, sport, youth, community, arts and culture, heritage and the Irish language. Last year alone, €226 million was raised for Good Causes by players of National Lottery games – or an incredible €620,000 a day. Since the National Lottery was established over 30 years ago, more than €5.3 billion for Good Causes.
An overjoyed Sr Helen Culhane of the Children’s Grief Centre, a support service for children who have suffered loss, said on the night: “We are thrilled to receive this award. Children often find it difficult to express their feelings through language, so by providing them with clay and paint, sand and crayons, we allow them to choose their own form of expression. The impact of this work with children is incredible. As a result of attending the Children's Grief Centre, it has been shown that children are happier, calmer, and have less feelings of anger, guilt and sadness.”
Meet the winners!
Overall Award and Youth Category: Children's Grief Centre, Co Limerick
The volunteer-led Children’s Grief Centre gives children who have suffered loss a voice. The only such service in the country, it’s grown in demand since it was set up in 2009, offering unique one-to-one support sessions. To date, it has helped around 1,200 grieving young people.
National Lottery Good Causes funding allowed the Children’s Grief Centre to meet the growing demand for its service in Limerick City and County, and in the neighbouring Counties of Clare and Tipperary.
Sports & Recreation: Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue
The 60 committed volunteers with the Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team work tirelessly to assist anyone who finds themselves lost or injured in the mountains. From responding to one or two incidents a year when it was first established, last year it dealt with more than one call-out a week.
National Lottery Good Causes funding has helped DWMRT buy vital medical equipment and recently, funded the first mountain-rescue, stretcher-capable vehicle in Ireland.
Community: The North Offaly Community Development Network
The North Offaly Community Development Network (NOCDN) reaches out daily to vulnerable elderly living in rural areas in the county. The Network’s Community Service Programme provides a range of vital services to the elderly, including meals-on-wheels, home and garden maintenance and home visiting.
National Lottery Good Causes funding has helped NOCDN sustain and develop effective and safe services so older people can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible.
Heritage: St Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee, Co Leitrim
The restoration of the beautiful St Catherine’s Church in Fenagh, Co Leitrim has given a new lease of life to the community, building bridges across denominations at the same time.
The Church, built in 1787, had been out of use for 20 years but National Lottery Good Causes funding through the Heritage Council helped replace the wooden floors and repair the gutters, roof and entrance porch. The Church was re-dedicated in 2017 and held the first wedding in a generation last year.
Arts & Culture: Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT)
The Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is a pioneering group bringing peace and comfort to the bedsides of seriously ill children and adults at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) with arts programmes for the patients.
National Lottery Good Causes funding supported an expansion of WHAT’s Iontas Arts and Mental Health Programme to support the recovery and rehabilitation of mental health service users, including first-time patients in an acute psychiatric ward.
Health: Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI), Dublin
Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) is supporting more than 2,000 people in Ireland for whom spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus is a reality in their lives. Around 40 babies are born with spina bifida each year in Ireland.
The National Lottery Good Causes funding helps the SBHI SHINE support young people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus (SB/H) from their early teens through to their mid-twenties. SHINE provides the only respite programme in Ireland specifically geared towards those living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Irish Language: Raidió Rí-Rá, Dublin
Raidió Rí-Rá is the only full-time chart-music radio station for young people broadcast entirely through Irish. It has worked with Ireland’s top musicians to promote our native tongue. Each year, it puts together a CEOL album in partnership with Conradh na Gaeilge and RTÉ 2fm, with Irish language translations of popular songs.
This year, Raidió Rí-Rá distributed 350,000 CDs to Irish schools with translations of the biggest hits. National Lottery Good Causes funding allows Raidió Rí-Rá to buy additional equipment, to keep broadcasting and to fund its schools programme.
For more information, visit www.lottery.ie