Laois Domestic Abuse Service, Lions AFC and Camross Parish Development Association are the three Laois organisations announced as county winners in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022 today.
The awards were created to honour and showcase the inspiring work being carried out by thousands of projects, clubs and individuals in their local communities across Ireland thanks to National Lottery Good Causes funding.
National Lottery CEO, Andrew Algeo, used the opportunity to launch a broadside against side bets on lottery games and suggested the practice be banned. “We believe that even more charitable and community groups would directly benefit if a ban on lottery betting was put in place,” he said.
The National Lottery CEO said: “The stories and insights that we read in this year’s entries truly exemplified the positive impact that the groups, sports clubs and organisations who receive National Lottery funding, are having in towns and villages all over Ireland. Celebrating the inspirational work being carried out by these extraordinary beneficiaries and recognising the effect that they have on their communities is exactly what the Good Causes Awards are all about.”
All over Ireland, good causes could benefit from funding if a ban on lottery betting were to be introduced, Mr Algeo claimed.
“Our ambition is to do more for communities all over Ireland and we hope that soon, this will become a reality. If the practice of betting on lottery games were to be finally banned in Ireland, as it is in most EU countries, our research shows that National Lottery sales would increase by at least €228 million which would result in approximately €63 million in additional funding for the Good Causes fund which would have a huge impact on communities all over Ireland. Last year, Benefacts established that 34% of all charitable giving in Ireland in 2021 was attributable via the National Lottery.”
One Laois organisation to benefit is Laois Domestic Abuse Service. LDAS (Laois Domestic Abuse Service) is the only dedicated domestic violence support service for women and children subjected to domestic abuse and coercive control in the county. Thanks to funding through the HSE National Lottery scheme, LDAS provides services such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, to help women and children recover from traumatic events in their lives. It stops difficult memories causing so much distress by helping the brain to reprocess them properly.
Another worthy recipient was Lions AFC. Celebrating 50 years in existence, Lions AFC in Durrow has grown to over 400 members and has recently undertaken a huge development project which will massively impact their members and the wider community. With funding received through the Sports Capital Programme and part-funded by the National Lottery, the club aims to provide state of the art playing and training facilities which will be an incredible boost to the entire area. The progressive club have also strategically developed the women's game within their club and women's football now accounts for a third of all their teams.
Elsewhere in the county, Camross Parish Development Association also benefitted. In 2018, Camross Parish Development Association was formed to develop a community multi-purpose recreational facility on a 4.2-acre site in Camross Village. With help from a HSE National Lottery grant, they formalised a Community Development Plan in 2019 and launched an ambitious Village Regeneration Project. One of these projects includes 'The Hub' - a multi-purpose recreational building providing toilet and catering facilities to their community.
The 118 County Finalists will now compete for a place in the National Finals judging phase next month, after which the 35 National Finalists will be announced.
The total prize fund for the Good Causes Awards is €130,000 and each of the 35 finalists will win €1,000 when they are announced in June. At the awards ceremony in October, each of the seven category winners will receive €10,000 and the overall Good Cause of the Year will take home an additional €25,000.
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