The Donegal Youth Service has beaten stiff competition to be announced as a finalist and North Region Winner in the first ever National Lottery Good Causes Awards.

The Awards are aimed at honouring the inspiring work and achievements of thousands of projects, clubs and individuals all over Ireland with the help of Good Causes funding. Nearly 30 cent in every euro spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes.

The Donegal Youth Service came out tops in the North Region in the Youth category, and now proceed to the finals. The winners will be announced at a televised Gala Awards Dinner in Dublin on November 3.

A total of 36 groups from all over Ireland go forward to the final in six categories – Sport, Health & Wellbeing; Arts & Culture; Heritage; Community and Youth. Each national category winner will receive €10,000 while the overall Good Cause of the Year will get another €25,000 on top of this.

The Donegal Youth Service runs Daybreak, a unique project for young people aged 12-15 years who are experiencing difficulty in school. Good Causes funding has helped sustain the project which has resulted in a huge improvements in young people’s school attendance.

The programme is unique and is the only educational project of its kind operating for young people of this age who are too young to go to Youth Reach and legally required to stay in education.

National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin, today congratulated the Westmeath groups on coming through the Regional stage of the competition and wished them the best of luck for the finals.

He said: “We were overwhelmed at the level of entries we received for our first National Lottery Good Causes Awards. We had over 500 applications from every County in Ireland in all categories. Through these Awards we want to show how people, organisations, projects and sports clubs are doing extraordinary things in their communities. This is work that often goes unrecognized.”

Chair of the judging panel, businessman and broadcaster, Bobby Kerr, said: “I have been blown away by the standard of the entries for these very important awards. As somebody who travels regularly all over Ireland for my work I am aware of the impact of National Lottery Good Causes funding. It has been an honour to have learned about the inspiring work that is going on around Ireland through the judging process.”

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