Three LGBT groups compete in National Lottery Good Causes Awards

BELONG TO YOUTH -SERVICES (1)

BeLonG To Youth Services

Three LGBT organisations from Cork and Dublin are getting ready to compete in the National Lottery Good Causes Awards on Saturday 29th May.

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. Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes all over the country.

The Cork LGBT Archive is a finalist in the Heritage category for the Good Causes Awards. The purpose of the Archive is to gather, preserve and share the rich history of the Cork LGBT community and ensure that the materials are accessible for all. There is a physical collection based on the Arthur Leahy collection – a private collection previously stored in a damp basement. The funding received allowed the physical collection to be properly sorted and catalogued. It also facilitated the development of the digital archive. This has allowed items from the collection to be preserved digitally and shared freely with the public. In 2016, the Cork LGBT Archive Exhibition was shown in the Camden Palace in Cork and it has since been displayed in venues in Cork, Belfast and Berlin. In 2020, the exhibition was shown in Connolly Hall as part of the Outing the Past LGBT History Festival.

Since 2003, BeLonG To Youth Services have supported lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people between the ages of 14 and 23. The Dublin-based national organisation advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people and offer a specialised youth service focusing on mental and sexual health, alongside alcohol and drug support. BeLonG To Youth Services respond to the needs of LGBTI+ young people in Ireland and help them to thrive. In 2019, the funding from the National Lottery enabled the group to support 1,398 individuals through their flagship youth service in Dublin and National Network of 56 LGBTI+ youth groups. They were also able to train 2,862 professionals working with LGBTI+ youth all over Ireland. BeLonG To Youth Services are a finalist in the Youth category.

The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival runs for two weeks every May across Dublin City Centre and features 20-30 productions from Ireland and abroad, free events and seminars. The purpose of the not-for-profit organisation is to develop a high quality inclusive artistic programme to include drama, music, performing arts, academic and community debate for the LGBT community. Since being founded in 2004, the festival celebrates the cultural identity of LGBTQ people through theatre and also looks at important issues relating to both the LGBTQ community and mainstream society. The funding received has supported the festival’s growing attendance and audience development activities. The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is an Arts & Culture finalist.

The Awards have six categories: Sport, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage, Arts & Culture, Community and Youth. A seventh category, Irish Language, will have a special award to be announced at the Awards final, in recognition of outstanding work done in the promotion of the Irish Language.

Each category winner will receive €10,000 while the overall Good Cause of the Year will get an additional €25,000 on top of this. The winners will be announced at a virtual event hosted by Gráinne Seoige live from the Mansion House on Saturday 29th May.

Following the announcement of the thirty-six finalists back in February, each of the community groups, sports clubs and organisations from all over Ireland, went on to the virtual judging segment of the competition which took place on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th February. Representatives from each of the finalist groups were asked to do a short presentation remotely to the judging panel and to answer any questions that arose.

The judging panel was chaired by Nuala Carey, Lotto presenter, and also included Seamus Griffin, CEO of the Griffin Retail Group, Fergus Finlay, Columnist and Author, and Jennifer Crowe, CSR Manager of the National Lottery.

Awards Chairperson, Nuala Carey, spoke of the incredible challenge that the panel faced in deciding on winners for each of the categories:

“We were in total awe of each of the 36 finalists after seeing their presentations. It’s no easy feat being asked to do a presentation remotely but each of the groups really took the task in their stride and highlighted all of the wonderful work being done in every corner of the country with the help of National Lottery Good Causes funding. Each of the finalists truly are doing amazing work within their communities and if we could give them all an award, we would! I wish all 36 finalists the best of luck on the day.”

More information on the finalists and the National Lottery Good Causes Awards can be found at:

 www.lottery.ie/good-causes-awards/finalists

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 34 years ago. In 2020 alone, €254 million was raised for local Good Causes in communities across Ireland.

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