National Lottery funding for good causes helped support for St Brendan’s Village in Mulranny, County Mayo between 2004 and 2015 was “like manna from heaven,” says village founder, Dr Jerry Cowley.
The unique not-for-profit project in the heart of the seaside town comprises of a day centre, 16 self-catering chalets and a 36-bed high support unit to provide a continuum of care as it is needed for older people within the community.
Founded 25 years ago, by Dr Cowley, the local GP, to stymie what he terms “the sad silent migration of older people to a distant institution,” St Brendan’s has approximately 60 residents at any given time and dozens more who come to avail of the day services.
“The guarantee is that no matter how old you are, you get to stay in your own community if that is your wish and I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t want to do that.”
National Lottery Funding for Good Causes
National Lottery funding got good causes grants averaging around €14,000 annually between 2004 and 2015 that came through the Departments of Justice, Finance or directly from the National Lottery, were used to provide facilities and services that have enhanced the lives of the residents.
“We have been able to include additional therapies, entertainment programmes and embark on a number of projects including a horticultural project which is now so successful that we have opened a shop to sell our surplus produce.”
Employing 89 people, 20 of whom are part of a Community Employment scheme, and with an annual wage bill of almost €1.5 million, St Brendan’s is the largest employer in the area and its presence has reversed the decline of the seaside town.
“It is a win-win situation. Everybody is doing better. I wish there could be a St Brendan’s village style community in every village, town and city in Ireland,” says Dr Cowley.
Approximately 30 cent of every €1 spent on games go back to National Lottery funding for Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts and heritage. Over €5 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 30 years ago. In 2016 alone, the National Lottery raised over €210 million for such good causes.