Inishowen social enterprise Spraoi agus Spórt are still celebrating, after winning no less than three national awards during the Easter break.
“We are blown away,” says chief executive, Helen Nolan. “But it’s a huge boost to our team, volunteers, and funders, who all contribute to our success.”
All-Ireland Community & Council Awards for Spraoi
Spraoi secured a Gold Award for Best Disability Access & Inclusion Initiative at the recent All-Ireland Community & Council Awards. “This award was for our Alternative Respite Programme, which offers over 2,000 hours of alternative respite annually.”
“Living with a disability can be an isolating experience for people living in our communities,” says Helen. “We provide Special Needs Assistant support so children and teenagers with a disability and/or autism can join our activities. They get to choose the activities, which enables them to connect with their peers and feel part of our community.”
Spraoi agus Spórt also won a Silver Award for Best Community Based Initiative at the All-Ireland Community & Council Awards. “This was for Project Cineál, our response to Covid and the lockdown, which initially shut down our services. But we responded by developing online services, courses and classes, a helpline, foodbank, grocery, and pharmacy collection services.”
In addition to these two awards, Spraoi also scooped After School Club of the Year for Ireland at the international Prestige Awards. These awards celebrate the businesses and individuals that consistently offer excellent products and services in their country.
After Schools Club Secures Award
Spraoi agus Spórt chairperson, Patricia Lee, says after school activities include art, music, chess, digital technology, breakfast club, afterschool club, Maths and English tuition and Club Gaeilge. “What is significant for us about winning this award, is that it recognises excellence in the way we run our business.”
“Social enterprise is about contributing to social good, but you also need to run it effectively as a business. This allows you to continue to innovate, adapt and grow to meet the needs of the local community and economy.”
“At Spraoi, we offer a huge range of social, recreational and educational activities for our community. We have a strong focus on family development, but also on contributing to economic and jobs growth. So, we work to create profits we can invest back into our business, community and local economy. ”
Importance of Awards for Spraoi
Patricia says the awards are a real boost to the hardworking staff, board, facilitators, and volunteers at Spraoi agus Spórt. “Everyone gives their best, but we could not do this without the support of our funders and our community who support us with fundraising. These include public sector funders like Pobal, the HSE and the Department of Community and Rural Development.”
“But we also get great funding support from our local community. For example, The Square Bar, Clonmany raised €8,100 euro for us over Christmas. Tommy & Margaret Doherty recently donated €1,000 from donations they sought in lieu of presents for their 50th Wedding Anniversary. So, we hope these awards show them all, once more, that their faith in us is fully justified!”