Fourteen groups from all over Dublin will compete as finalists across five different categories in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards.
The National Lottery Good Causes Awards honour the inspiring work and achievements of thousands of projects, clubs and individuals from all over Ireland who with the help of National Lottery Good Causes funding have had an extraordinary impact on their local communities. Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes all over the country.
The Awards have six categories: Sport, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage, Arts & Culture, Community and Youth. A seventh category, Irish Language, will have a special award to be announced at the Awards final, in recognition of outstanding work done in the promotion of the Irish Language.
Arts & Culture
Children’s Books Ireland aim to inspire a love of reading in children and young people. The national children’s book organisation understand the positive influence that reading can have with research showing that reading improves literacy, numeracy and builds vocabulary in young children. The organisation champions every child’s right to excellent books and live literature events, inform adults who influence children’s reading and support children’s authors and illustrators who make that goal possible. Good Causes funding has allowed the organisation to grow to improve the lives of children and young people all over Ireland and ensure that every child has a chance to develop a love of reading.
Dance Theatre of Ireland is a professional contemporary dance company that aims to transform the lives of people of all ages and abilities through dance, with their classes, educational courses and performance activities. DTI support over 3,000 participants on a yearly basis and run specilaised programmes for older people who suffer from Parkinson’s and Dementia. National Lottery funding allowed the company to increase participation and raise awareness of the benefits of dance in improving health and wellbeing for older people. During the Covid pandemic, the company brought their programmes online and continue to reach their participants in their homes all over the country.
The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival runs for two weeks every May across Dublin City Centre and features 20-30 productions from Ireland and abroad, free events and seminars. The purpose of the not-for-profit organisation is to develop a high quality inclusive artistic programme to include drama, music, performing arts, academic and community debate for the LGBT community. Since being founded in 2004, the festival celebrates the cultural identity of LGBTQ people through theatre and also looks at important issues relating to both the LGBTQ community and mainstream society. The funding received has supported the festival’s growing attendance and audience development activities.
Age Action are the leading advocacy organisation for all people as they age in Ireland. Their focus is on empowering older people to live full lives as actively engaged citizens and to ensure their rights to high quality services. When the pandemic began in 2020, Age Action were able to use their funding to adapt to virtual versions of their programmes, including the remote Getting Started (KIT) digital literacy tutoring. The course continues to enable older adults to remain connected to their loved ones while socially isolating by providing the necessary supports such as phone calls with tutors and free how-to guides.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is a national, non-governmental organisation working to promote and defend the rights of migrants. They strive to create a more inclusive society in Ireland by working to reform immigration law and organizing programmes to bring people together from a migrant background to connect with one another and their local communities. Last year, the funding received from the National Lottery enabled the organisation to provide free information and advice to over 5,000 people through their helpline. Their legal team supported victims of human trafficking, offered legal aid to migrant women escaping domestic violence and supported migrant children in securing their rights to a secure life in Ireland.
The Irish Deaf Society is the only national Deaf-led representative organisation of the Deaf and hard of hearing in Ireland. They provide education, personal and social services to Deaf and hard of hearing children, adults and their families. Deaf people are often left vulnerable to mental health issues due to the difficulty in accessing mental health services with Irish Sign Language provisions. National Lottery funding allowed the group to provide a series of essential mental health workshops, which made help more accessible and raised awareness in the importance of providing mental health services for the Deaf community. The Irish Deaf Society are now campaigning for better access and working with providers to reassess their policies.
In 1997, the Kilbarrack Coast Community Project was formed in response to the dramatic uprise of drug usage in the area. Since then, the group have offered even more services as the numbers in attendance have grown. Services on offer include Structured Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Programmes, Parent and Toddler groups and Counselling & Referral. The Reach Out programme, which is a cannabis specific rehabilitation programme aimed at 18-25 year olds, was set up in 2015. Research found that young people were more likely to reduce or abstain from substance misuse if they were involved in physical training. National Lottery funding enabled the KCCP to provide activities such as personal training sessions in the local gym, football, snorkelling and a fully supported swimming programme.
Health & Wellbeing
Children in Hospital Ireland is a national organisation which was established in 1970. The organisation is committed to supporting and promoting the welfare of children in the healthcare system in Ireland. They are best known for their volunteer-led play service which operates in 14 paediatric units across Ireland. The funding from the National Lottery allowed the group to recruit, train, vet and support over 500 volunteers to provide the play and recreation activities. The beneficial service brings a sense of normality to the children and gives parents a much needed break during what can be a stressful time.
For over 40 years, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has been at the forefront of Ireland’s response to sexual violence, working to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape and other forms of sexual violence. The not-for-profit organisation is situated in Dublin City Centre but they provide services right across the country. The funding from National Lottery Good Causes enabled the charity to modernize their services as they previously operated without the use of computers or online technologies. The systems and streamlined services now in place allow the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre to support an increased number of survivors.
LauraLynn is Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice. They provide specialist palliative care to children with life limiting conditions and offer support to their families. The service is free to families and is available to children from 0-18 years within the Republic of Ireland. At LauraLynn, the aim is to make the most of the children’s very precious time. The funding received was put towards the LauraLynn@Home service. The care provided is aimed at supporting families along the tough journey of living with a life limiting condition, helping them to sustain their energy and mental health. The respite care provided for children provides much needed time-out for caregivers who are providing the bulk of care for their child.
Shankill Tennis Club is devoted to ensuring every member of the community has access to tennis. Six years ago, they started working with players with disabilities and since then, the club has created a National Programme called Enjoy Tennis which now has 1,200 players in 80 clubs all over Ireland. The funding allowed the club to build an indoor centre, which they realized was necessary to meet the needs of all players and enable them to enjoy the game safely. Players with a range of different needs including those who are blind/visually impaired, have an acquired brain injury, intellectual disability/autism, dementia or are in a wheelchair, can now safely enjoy a game of tennis at the club.
South Dublin Taekwondo is a Tallaght based club which was founded in 2008. The club has around 80 members and teaches people of all ages and experiences in this Korean martial art. At the beginning of 2020, the club found out that one of their students qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and their coaches are also national team coaches. Through the funding received, the club has been able to invest in equipment, such as electronic scoring equipment and 300 Martial Arts Mats. This equipment is very expensive and the club usually only has the chance to use it when they travel to international tournaments. Now, the club and their friends have full access to this equipment.
Focus Ireland believes that everyone has a right to a place that they can call home. The non-profit organisation is one of the largest housing and homelessness organisations in Ireland. Since establishing in 1985, the Dublin-based organisation has continued to grow with its research and advocacy work ensuring the rights of people who are homeless remain on the political agenda. Good Causes funds enabled Focus Ireland to offer flexible courses designed to meet specific education and employment needs of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Their Preparation for Education, Training & Employment team help clients complete their second level education, apply for third level education, and secure the necessary supports for clients to become secure and independent in their lives. The impact of this for the wider community is that employment and education levels increase, leading to improved standards of living for community members.
Since 2003, BeLonG To Youth Services have supported lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people between the ages of 14 and 23. The national organisation advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people and offer a specialised youth service focusing on mental and sexual health, alongside alcohol and drug support. BeLonG To Youth Services respond to the needs of LGBTI+ young people in Ireland and help them to thrive. In 2019, the funding from the National Lottery enabled the group to support 1,398 individuals through their flagship youth service in Dublin and National Network of 56 LGBTI+ youth groups. They were also able to train 2,862 professionals working with LGBTI+ youth all over Ireland.
Each category winner will receive €10,000 while the overall Good Cause of the Year will get an additional €25,000 on top of this. The winners will be announced at a virtual event hosted by Grainne Seoige live from the Mansion House on Saturday 29th May.
Following the announcement of the thirty-six finalists back in February, each of the community groups, sports clubs and organisations from all over Ireland, went on to the virtual judging segment of the competition which took place on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th February. Representatives from each of the finalist groups were asked to do a short presentation remotely to the judging panel and to answer any questions that arose.
The judging panel was chaired by Nuala Carey, Lotto presenter, and also included Seamus Griffin, CEO of the Griffin Retail Group, Fergus Finlay, Columnist and Author, and Jennifer Crowe, CSR Manager of the National Lottery.
Awards Chairperson, Nuala Carey, spoke of the incredible challenge that the panel faced in deciding on winners for each of the categories: “We were in total awe of each of the 36 finalists after seeing their presentations. It’s no easy feat being asked to do a presentation remotely but each of the groups really took the task in their stride and highlighted all of the wonderful work being done in every corner of the country with the help of National Lottery Good Causes funding. Each of the finalists truly are doing amazing work within their communities and if we could give them all an award, we would! I wish all 36 finalists the best of luck on the day.”
More information on the finalists and the National Lottery Good Causes Awards can be found at www.lottery.ie/good-causes-awards/finalists
Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on all National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts, heritage and the Irish Language. In total more than €6 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 34 years ago. In 2020 alone, €254 million was raised for local Good Causes in communities across Ireland.