Tipperary's Sr. Patricia Wall is central to the development that has come on the back of National Lottery Good Causes funding.
Hundreds of individuals, clubs and organisations in County Tipperary received more than €8.4 million in National Lottery Good Causes funding in 2017, new figures reveal.
This funding is crucial to individuals, projects and communities across the county in the areas of sport, health, arts and heritage.
One stand-out project feeling the positive impact of National Lottery funding is the Slieveardagh Rural Development Group, set up in 1992 to tackle the significant impact of the economic slump of the ‘80s in rural Tipperary, with young people leaving in their droves, small businesses closing and communities suffering. The group's aim was to stimulate local heritage, tourism and business. “The group covers areas including Mullinahone, Killenaule-Moyglass, Gortnahoe, Ballingarry and so on. We call it ‘Tipperary’s Hidden Corner’,” explains lead administrator Corina Bolger.
Slieveardagh Rural Development Group's Sr. Patricia Wall, Aoife Fitzgerald, Donal McGettigan and Corina Bolger.
Over time and thanks to support from National Lottery Good Causes funding of €4,000 in 2015 and a number of grants in previous years, this special “hidden corner” has become better known nationally. “The group was set up to tackle issues including unemployment, to promote this stunning part of Ireland from a tourism perspective and to shine a spotlight on this area. The establishment of the Ireland’s Ancient East initiative has helped as we have a very rich ecclesiastical heritage here including the stunning Derrynaflan trail which is attracting more and more visitors,” Corina says.
In 1994, the group purchased the old St. Mary’s protestant church which is now the centre of the Slieveardagh Rural Development Group. Officially opened by President Mary Robinson on 20th August 1994, it is home to a heritage centre, a tourism and information point, a public library and a hot desking service for local individuals and businesses. “Through the support of the National Lottery we were able to source further funding and that really transformed our work and the positive impact on this wonderful area. It also led to us getting funding for our website,” Corina adds.
Projects enabled by National Lottery funding include the week-long 1848 Ballingarry Rising Festival, the development of the Lough Doire Bhile man-made lake in Glengoole and the development of Ballynonty Memorial Garden in memory of local people who tragically lost their lives on the country roads near the rural village of Ballynonty.
Leading the charge in the local development is Volunteer of the Year for 2017 Sr. Patricia Wall, known as ‘the flying nun’ due to a skydive she did at the age 75. She raises funds for a number of charities including the Slieveardagh Rural Development Group. “It is great to hear the stories of the impact and change that Good Causes funding is making and the impact this group are making in the Gortnahoe, Glengoole, Killenaule, Moyglass and Ballingarry areas,” National Lottery CEO Dermot Griffin says.
“The National Lottery was set up over 30 years ago with the express purpose of raising funds for Good Causes and in that period more than €5 billion has been raised and distributed through government departments to organisations, projects and individual’s all over Ireland in in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts, heritage and the Irish language. By supporting our games people are also supporting their communities.
“Good Causes funding has played an important role in the development of the country over three decades and has helped to define Ireland, our communities and our culture,” he adds.
Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on National Lottery games go back to Good Causes. Last year alone over €225 million was raised by the National Lottery and its players for Good Causes all over Ireland, equating to about €616,000 per day.
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