St Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny
Two groups from Donegal who have made significant contributions to their communities, Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter and Raphoe Community Sports Development, are getting ready to compete in two different categories in the upcoming National Lottery Good Causes Awards on Saturday, May 29.
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.
In 2014, a group of Letterkenny residents came together to form the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter to work on the restoration of historical landmark buildings within the area which had fallen into a state of disrepair. Good Causes funding enabled the group to host traditional building skills workshops within the local area.
Many of the derelict buildings are now coming back into use as accommodation for business and residents. Since forming, the group has been recognised for their contributions to heritage conservation and development.
In 2019, the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter received a National Award from the National Planning Institute of Ireland. The group will contest in the Heritage category of the Good Causes Awards.
Raphoe Community Sports Development was established in 2013 with the intention of building a new football pitch in the area for all of the community to enjoy.
Prior to this, Raphoe never had a pitch of their own and played all their games on farm fields, a school pitch and most often, away from home. The funding received allowed the Donegal club to build a playing pitch that would finally give their local teams a home ground to play on.
The club has since trained new coaches and taken part in a Building Positive Clubs programme. They have also played a part in numerous cross-community and cross-border peace initiatives over the years.
The club is now home to over 160 active members and 16 teams of both male and female players. The club will compete in the Sport category of the Awards.
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 on the night at the Awards final, in recognition of outstanding work done in the promotion of the Irish Language.
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.
Following the announcement of the 36 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
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