20 May 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Five organisations from all over Cork, including a heritage group preserving the history of their county, an archive sharing the rich history of its community, an honourable sports club, a children’s arts company and an educational theatre group, are getting ready to compete in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards on Saturday 29th May.
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 Cork Folklore Project is recognised as a leader in the oral history community of Ireland. Since 1996, it has been digitally recording the voices, memories and folklore of almost 1,000 people in Cork. In 2017, the Project received Good Causes funding for a digital Memory Wall, which enabled the presentation of over 150 segments of audio recordings from their broader collection. This was then installed at the North Cathedral Visitor Centre for the public to visit, free of charge, and engage with the material. Funding received in 2018 allowed the Project to further develop the Online Catalogue, which presents users with a detailed breakdown of the collection and the capacity to easily search for material relating to their area of interest. The Cork Folklore Project will contest in the Heritage category.
The Cork LGBT Archive is also a finalist in the Heritage category for the Good Causes Awards. The purpose of the Archive is to gather, preserve and share the rich history of the Cork LGBT community and ensure that the materials are accessible for all. There is a physical collection based on the Arthur Leahy collection – a private collection previously stored in a damp basement. The funding received allowed the physical collection to be properly sorted and catalogued. It also facilitated the development of the digital archive. This has allowed items from the collection to be preserved digitally and shared freely with the public. In 2016, the Cork LGBT Archive Exhibition was shown in the Camden Palace in Cork and it has since been displayed in venues in Cork, Belfast and Berlin. In 2020, the exhibition was shown in Connolly Hall as part of the Outing the Past LGBT History Festival.
Since establishing in 1997, cyclists from Kanturk Cycling Club have competed at both national and international level. While the club is proud of their past and present cyclists who have competed at a professional level, including Sam Bennet at the Tour de France, they are determined to ensure that cyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy the sport at their club. The club has over 60 members and is home to Ireland’s only Olympic size track. Funding has proved essential for the maintenance of the 250 metre outdoor track and has also allowed facilities to be upgraded to the necessary standard required for national and international competitions. The track has been beneficial for the wider community as it attracts visitors from near and far to both train and compete. Kanturk Cycling Club is a finalist in the Sport category of the Good Causes Awards.
Since establishing in 1984, the Graffiti Theatre Company have been providing a unique brand of excellence in drama and theatre work for children and young people throughout Cork City and county. The company aim to develop children’s confidence through participation in the arts while striving to promote the importance of imagination and curiosity. In an average year, Graffiti can provide 10,000 creative encounters for children in creches, primary schools and post primary schools. Good Causes funding allows the company to subsidise their work to make it accessible and affordable, and in many cases, free. The Graffiti Theatre Company will compete in the Arts category of the Awards.
Cyclone Rep are finalists in the Arts category of the Good Causes Awards. The Theatre-in-Education company provide secondary school audiences with an exciting theatrical experience that engages, entertains and educates. Good Causes funding has allowed Cyclone Rep to travel nationwide with their Bullying Prevention Scheme and to reach even more schools across the country. The Bullying Prevention Scheme is made up of a play, a presentation and a workshop with the goal of informing students and teachers alike about the various types of bullying and actions that can be taken to stop bullying. This has led to a greater knowledge of what bullying is and where it takes place, heightened empathy for those who are bullied and increased encouragement for students to play an active role in anti-bullying efforts within their schools.
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 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.”