Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick named as National Lottery Good Cause of the Year at Gala Awards ceremony

Members News - Community - Nov 28, 2018

Business in the Community Ireland

An inspiring charity which supports children who suffer loss from bereavement, divorce or separation has been named the National Lottery Good Cause of the Year 2018.

The Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick scooped the overall National Lottery Good Causes Award 2018 and the Youth Category at a gala event in Dublin in November. The new Awards are aimed at honouring the extraordinary work impacting on communities all over Ireland thanks to National Lottery Good Causes funding.

36 finalists from all over Ireland gathered for a glittering Awards dinner which was hosted by TV presenter Karen Koster and filmed for broadcast on Virgin Media One.The six category winners received €10,000 each, whilst the overall Good Cause of the Year received an additional €25,000. There was also a special Award of €10,000 for the Irish language.

The National Lottery Good Cause Awards winners 2018 are: (detailed notes on each winner below)

  • Overall and Youth Category: St Catherine’s Grief Centre, Limerick
  • Sports & Recreation: Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue
  • Community: The North Offaly Community Development Network
  • Heritage: St. Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee, Fenagh, Co. Leitrim
  • Arts & Culture: Waterford Healing Arts Trust
  • Health: Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI), Dublin
  • Irish Language: Raidió Rí-Rá, Dublin

More than 30% in every €1 spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes in the areas of Health, Sport, Youth, Community, Arts & 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 players in Ireland have helped raise more than €5.3 billion for Good Causes, funding which has shaped the development of modern Ireland.

Presenting the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick with their prize for winning the overall National Lottery Good Cause of the Year, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said:Loss, whether through death, separation or divorce, can be devastating, especially for the young. This award goes to a dedicated voluntary organisation which provides comfort and support to grieving children. Its committed volunteers work tirelessly all year round to provide an oasis of calm for those who have lost loved ones, helping them find their voice.

Minister Madigan added:Community is at the heart of all we do in Ireland and the inspiring National Lottery Good Causes Awards finalists have excelled in their use of Good Causes funds to benefit their localities and the wider society. Good Causes funding has helped us build a better Ireland and has given communities opportunities they would not have had otherwise. “

Sr Helen Culhane of the Children’s Grief Centre said: We are overjoyed to receive this reward. 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, more calm, and have less feelings of anger, guilt and sadness.”

National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin: 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 Awards. Their work often goes unrecognised – but it is so valued.”


Notes/Background on Winners:

Overall & Youth Category Winner: Children’s Grief Centre, Limerick

For almost a decade the volunteer-led Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick has been giving children who have suffered loss a voice. The only such service in the country the Centre has grown in demand since it set up in 2009 offering unique one-to-one support sessions. To date it has given a voice to around 1,200 grieving young people.

The children who visit the centre are given the opportunity to work through their feelings and are empowered to find their voice using play, art, clay, workbooks stories and much more. In working with children and young people, the centre is also supporting parents and guardians.

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. Funding enabled it to develop a sophisticated database ensuring children and young people’s information is kept securely and appointments are set promptly. The Centre also used funding to buy materials for the ‘Teen’ and ‘Art” rooms, precious spaces for children and young people who attend for support.

Community Category Winner: 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. It is also improving the elderly’s security by installing personal monitored alarms, smoke alarms and other related services.

The majority of elderly supported by the Network are referred by public health nurses, occupational therapists, social care workers and others working with older and vulnerable people.

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 and community for as long as possible, reducing demands on more costly HSE and long term care.

Since the Community Services Programme was set up in 2009 there has been a steady increase in its client base each year, with 189 older and vulnerable people now availing of at least one of its core services. Volunteer drivers delivered an average of 6,500 meals-on-wheels to 48 clients last year. Its home visiting services teams currently visits an average of thirty nine clients weekly.

The Home & Garden Team completed work for one hundred and eight clients during 2017.

Arts & Culture Category Winner: Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT)

The Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is a pioneering group that is bringing peace and comfort to the bedsides of seriously ill children and adults at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

Using various arts forms this unique organisation is changing the ambience in what can be a stressful environment, bringing smiles to the faces of patients, staff and relatives.

The WHAT Healing Sounds live music programme brightens up life on the wards and in the hospital foyer. A mobile Art Kart – a re-constituted medication trolley – travels through the wards with paints, brushes and other art supplies allowing patients to channel their emotions through arts. And an Artist-On-Call service is on hand to respond to individual patient needs.

National Lottery Good Causes funding supported an expansion of WHATS Iontas Arts and Mental Health Programme, an initiative developed in partnership with Waterford/Wexford Mental Health Services to support the recovery and rehabilitation of mental health service users.

This innovative programme includes music and multi-arts workshops focused on dance, writing, visual art and puppetry. It reached a number of mental health service users – including for the first time patients in an acute psychiatric ward.

Sport & Recreation category Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team – committed volunteers saving lives

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.

They are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. From responding to one or two incidents a year when it first established, last year it dealt with more than one call-out a week. And this year it is on course to exceed that figure.

The Service responds to all sorts of incidents whether lost walkers, those who sustain injury or medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest.

The benefit of National Lottery Good Causes funding on the service has been immense.  Over the years it has helped DWMRT buy vital medical equipment but most recently funded the first mountain rescue stretcher capable vehicle in Ireland, reduced the amount of time an injured or ill patient has to be manually carried over uneven terrain.

When “Storm Emma” hit this year it did 28 medical emergency call outs to people inaccessible due to the snow. In October the DWMRT was called to four different incidents on one Saturday alone. It assisted a hillwalker who had collapsed in Fraughan Rock Glen while climbing Lugnaquilla; responded to an injured mountain biker; helped a climber in Glendalough who fell about 30 metres and a paraglider who sustained multiple injuries on the Great Sugar Loaf.

 Heritage Category: St Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee

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 after the floor collapsed during a wedding service. National Lottery funding through the Heritage Council helped fund replacing the wooden floors.

Getting the National Lottery money gave the community the spur they needed to fundraise and a “Dream Auction” was held in 2016 which captured the imagination and raised significant sums.

After the floor was completed, the St. Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee secured a grant to repair stained glass windows which had been vandalized in 1989. Repairs to the gutters, roof, entrance porch followed and the Church was re dedicated in 2017 with the first wedding in a generation held in April of that year.

There are plans to replace the vestry ceiling, finish interior painting and the development of a Contemplation Garden created in the grounds.

Instead of the Church being abandoned, it came back into use for the benefit of all the community. It is now a place of worship for all,  proven by the community of different faiths who have helped to save the building. The impact has lasting affects in building bridges across denominations and creating social inclusion opportunities.”

Health & Wellbeing: Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI)

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 and one in 1,000 live births are affected by Hydrocephalus. Spina bifida and hydrocephalus are life-long conditions and although there is no ‘cure’, there are many ways in which those living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus can be enabled to overcome challenges.

The SBHI SHINE programme is a beneficiary of National Lottery Good Causes funding, supporting young people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus (SB/H) from their early teens through to their mid-twenties and beyond.

SHINE consists of five weeks of residential respite care for various age groups over the summer months. It is the only respite programme in Ireland specifically geared towards those living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

The programme helps those with Spina Bifida or Hydrocephalus be independent, self-reliant, and healthy from a young age. By meeting peers and sharing experiences, those who take part in the programme learn social and life skills as well as how to better manage their disability.”

SHINE is supported by coordinators, nurses, occupational therapists, qualified instructors, and volunteers, and as well as practical help it tackles issues such as loneliness, isolation, and depression.

Irish Language Category winner Raidió Rí-Rá – connecting with young people Irish through music

Raidió Rí-Rá is the only full-time chart-music radio station for young people broadcast entirely through Irish.

Established ten years ago this year it has worked with Ireland’s top musicians including Ed Sheeran, Danny O’Reilly of the Coronas, Picture This, Glen Hansard and The Riptide Movement, connecting with young people using our native tongue.

The online radio station has a full schedule of music, fun and humor daily with a Top 40 charts through Irish. It produces top quality music programming, filling a huge keep in Irish radio.

Every year, it puts together a CEOL album in partnership with Conradh na Gaeilge and RTÉ 2fm, with Irish language translations of popular songs. The albums are valuable resources in the classroom and for Irish learners and in 2016 Ed Sheeran participated with the album with a translation of his song ‘Thinking Out Loud’.

And this year, as part of the Year of Irish, Radio Ri Ra distributed 350,000 CDs to all schools in the country with translations of some of the biggest hits.

The majority of Raidió Rí-Rá’s presenters are third level students and an important part of its work is delivering radio workshops in primary and secondary schools around the country, giving young people the chance to experience radio.

National Lottery Good Cause funding allowed it buy additional equipment to allow it broadcast to the highest standard and to fund its schools programme every year

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