Cork charity The Rainbow Club has scooped a €10,000 prize at the National Lottery Good Cause of the Year Awards 2022, recognising its “extraordinary impact” on the local Cork community.
The annual National Lottery awards celebrate Good Causes across the country and across seven different categories: Sport, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage, Arts & Culture, Community, Youth and Irish Language.
Cork’s The Rainbow Club, which provides a lifeline to families, children, young teens and adults living with Autism, was crowned the worthy winner of the youth category at this year’s awards on Saturday, and received a €10,000 prize from the National Lottery’s Good Causes fund.
National Lottery funding previously distributed through the HSE to The Rainbow Club enabled them to set up a ‘Gamer Café’ for children & teens with ASD, which subsequently has improved the quality of life for 60 children, teens and their families in Cork.
The Rainbow Club was one of seven winners from over 500 applications and was the only Cork entrant to make it through as one of the 35 finalists.
Karen O’Mahony from The Rainbow Club said the award is an acknowledgment of the work of The Rainbow Club team, volunteers and parents “coming together to create this amazing, amazing service that helps so many wonderful families”.
“I’m so, so proud of everybody today… This award is for everybody who helped the club to get to where it is. Every parent that did a bag pack, every volunteer that gave their time, everybody that acknowledges the club for what it is,” she said.
Ms O’Mahony said the award was very welcome for the club that is desperately in need of funding, and a new home.
“This is going to be such a wonderful platform for us now that we’re nationally acknowledged, the work that we do. I suppose the dream for the Rainbow Club is a new home, some funding, and to replicate around the country so that other counties in Ireland could have what our families have in Cork,” she said.
“It’s a really wonderful place and every family that’s on a journey with autism should be able to access this support,” she added.
The overall winner of the National Lottery Good Cause of the Year 2022 and €35,000 top prize was Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes in Monaghan, a voluntary organisation that transports blood samples, breast milk for premature babies and medical supplies throughout local hospitals.
Andrew Algeo, Chief Executive of the National Lottery congratulated all the category winners “who’ve all had a massive impact on the ground within each of their communities”.
“It is such an inspiration to see how tirelessly these people work and how much time they dedicate daily for the benefit of others,” he said.
Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on all National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes, a total of over €6 billion raised since the National Lottery was established 35 years ago.