Community projects from Waterford, Roscommon and Dublin also scoop top honours
An inspiring non-profit organisation which assists women affected by domestic violence and abuse has been named as the 2023 National Lottery Good Cause of the Year.
Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services was named National Lottery Good Cause of the Year and also won the Health and Wellbeing category at the National Lottery Good Causes Awards ceremony which took place in Killashee House Hotel in Co. Kildare on October 21st.
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.
Marty Whelan, Chair of this year's Judging Panel, explained why Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services secured the coveted title; “Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services has proven to be a beacon of hope, offering solace and strength to those who need it most. My fellow judges and I got a true sense of the deep and long-lasting impact felt by the users of this vital service and how important a role it plays in today’s society. Their unwavering commitment to protecting and empowering women has earned them the well-deserved title of National Lottery Good Cause of the Year 2023,” he said.
A HSE National Lottery grant enabled Meath Women’s Refuge and Supports Services to fund a series of holistic programmes to reduce stress and anxiety for women staying at the refuge. This included acupuncture, sound baths, weighted blankets to reduce anxiety and a new library of 154 books related to recovery and wellbeing.
This year’s Good Causes Awards ceremony took place in Killashee House Hotel in Co. Kildare. Grainne Seoige hosted the event and was joined by a star-studded line-up of guest presenters who handed out category awards, including TV personality Daithí O Sé, retired sprinting sensation Jason Smyth, the inspiring Deborah Samorin, renowned weather forecaster Joanna Donnelly and the talented actor James Martin from the Oscar-winning film 'An Irish Goodbye.'
Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services were presented with their Health and Wellbeing award by Joanna Donnelly, and Minister Paschal Donohoe had the honour of presenting the group with the overall Good Cause of the year award.
On presenting the coveted Award, the Minister said: “It has been a truly inspiring evening surrounded by such innovative groups who contribute so much to their communities every day, thanks to National Lottery funding. While each of the finalists have shown how deserving they are, it was an honour to present Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services with the overall Good Cause of the Year Award. The support that they provide to their service users is enduring and truly makes a huge impact to the lives of many.”
The Awards are made up of seven categories: Sport, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage, Arts & Culture, Community, Youth and Irish Language.
A special award category, ‘Hero of the Year’, recognises the outstanding work done by an individual within an organisation. This year’s winner was Jamie Blanche, a volunteer with the Waterford Marine Search and Rescue. Jamie is the longest-standing volunteer within the organisation, which is now in its 13th year of operation. He has been described as “compassionate”, “humble”, “witty”, “dedicated”, “visionary” and “heroic”. Jamie demonstrates leadership in spades, and his dedication has been instrumental in scaling this voluntary organisation.
The seven category winners each received €10,000; the Hero of the Year received €5,000 and the overall Good Cause of the Year, Meath Women’s Refuge Support Services received an additional €25,000.
Andrew Algeo, Chief Executive of the National Lottery said: “On behalf of the National Lottery, I extend our heartfelt congratulations to Meath Women's Refuge and Support Services, as well as our other remarkable category winners. Your dedication to making a positive impact on society is truly inspiring. It’s been an honour to share the stage with such a variety of groups who benefit from Good Causes funding.”
This year’s National Lottery Good Causes Award winners are: (full details below)
National Lottery Good Cause of the Year: Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services
Heritage: The Little Museum of Dublin
Sport: Irish Homeless Street Leagues
Irish Language: AerachAiteachGaelach
Youth: Roscommon Young Carers
Community: Waterford Marine Search and Rescue
Arts & Culture: Children’s Books Ireland
Health & Wellbeing: Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services
Hero of the Year: Jamie Blanche, Waterford Marine Search and Rescue
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 36 years ago. In 2022 alone, €259 million was raised for local Good Causes in communities across Ireland.
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