National Lottery host Cork event to honour local communities and charities

The National Lottery hosted a live event in Cork this morning to celebrate Cork’s Community and Charity Sector.

Gráinne Seoige was joined on stage at the Firkin Crane by CEO of the Rainbow Club in Cork, Karen Twomey, Caitríona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners, and Founder of Sanctuary Runners, Graham Clifford.

Karen Twomey recently won the Youth Category in the Good Causes Awards. This Rainbow Club offers support to families, children, young teens and adults living with Autism.

Karen revealed what the past couple of months have been like after scooping the coveted National Lottery award and prize money:

“It was amazing, it gave us all such a lift. The money was great of course, but the actual award meant so much. Getting that level of recognition has changed the dynamics in the club over the last few weeks. Our staff and volunteers feel so valued.”

Catriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners also sat on the panel to discuss the opportunities and challenges that exist for charities in Cork today. Catriona runs one of Cork’s oldest charity organisations which currently serves 1,000 dinners daily to those struggling or in need and helps between 7,000 and 8,000 people per week.

“Giving people dignity is vital – anyone can be down on their luck”, Catriona said. “There are big challenges right now and we are seeing an increased demand for our services. So many new people every day and they are coming for longer.”

Last year, Cork Penny Dinners gave out 9,000 hampers at Christmas worth €100, including 70 hampers alone on Christmas Day.

“No questions asked, no judgement made, that’s our tagline.” said Caitríona. “When people are looking for food, they feel they are at the lowest rung, but we tell people not to worry, they have done the right thing by coming. People come with pain and tears, they will walk away feeling better.”

Sanctuary Runners is a movement that encourages Irish residents to run alongside migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to bring communities in Ireland together and give greater awareness to the migration system.

Founder Graham Clifford said:

“I think people get overwhelmed when they think of immigration. The thing is every individual has a role to play in making sure our communities are decent, kind and respectful to everybody. I want to enable Irish people to run alongside and in solidarity with people living in direct provision. The intergration will happen organically by osmosis. I want to attract more people to take part across the country.”

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 35 years ago. In 2021 alone, €304 million was raised for local Good Causes in communities across Ireland.


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