Four charities were chosen to receive funding from a pool of almost 60.
The University of Limerick Students’ Union (ULSU) last week presented its €30,000 Charity Week and donation fund to four local charities.
 
Console, Share a Dream Foundation, Rape Crisis Midwest and Novas Initiatives all benefited from the fundraising events held during ULSU Charity Week last March. Each charity received an equal €7,500.
 
ULSU Welfare Officer, Shane McCormack presented the cheques to the four charities at an event at the university on Tuesday last week.
 
Mr McCormack said the Student Executive at the university had chosen the four charities from just under 60 charity nominations this year. He also said funding was raised from various sources including condom sales throughout the year, local donations and charity week profits.
 
He explained: “We are delighted to be able to hand over €30,000 today. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to raise funds for the charities and also those that were not nominated this year can be nominated next year.”
 
“This is definitely the highlight of the year. You can see the results of the effort put in by students and ourselves. Hopefully next year students will be able to go in with that same energy and come out with the same result for the next four worthy causes,” he added.
 
Describing the funds as “a great benchmark”, ULSU President, Tommy Bolger said the €30,000 was double the amount raised last year by the union.
 
On the success of Charity Week, Mr Bolger said: “There were great reports back from An Garda Síochána, the residents, members of the County Council and then the university itself.
 
“It’s definitely a good note to be going out on. It’s the biggest week of the year from the moment you get elected - all eyes are on Charity Week as a big week and it’s an indicator of the whole year really. The union is going from strength to strength.”
 
On the night, Pauline Londra from the suicide charity, Console thanked all those who participated in the fundraising efforts for the charity.
 
Ms Londra explained: “I wish to thank the students' union and all the volunteers for all their hard work and effort they put into raising much needed funds for the various charities, including Console.
 
“The money raised for Console will be used to continue to develop and grow our Limerick centre and support those at risk or bereaved by suicide. In particular, the money will help Console to continue to expand our child and adolescent psychotherapy service in the Limerick centre.”
 
Shay Kinsella from the children’s charity, Share a Dream Foundation said the money the charity received would go towards the creation of an accessible playground in Limerick for disabled children.
 
Mr Kinsella explained: “Once again UL have shown Limerick as an extraordinary community reaching out a hand of love and friendship to hundreds of very sick and disabled children who all too often feel they are forgotten about by raising an incredible €30,000 for four charities in the area.
 
“At present over 70,000 special children have nowhere to play and just have fun, so Share a Dream, with the help of the wonderful community. like the incredible students in the University of Limerick are going to change this by building Dreamland.”
 
Verena Tarpey of Rape Crisis Midwest said the donation came at a good time after the centre was forced to close last September for a month due to a lack of funds.
 
Ms Tarpey explained: “This money will go towards maintaining the current services here - paying the mortgage on our premises, the electricity bills and keeping our doors open.
 
“Rape Crisis depends on so many volunteers to help deliver our service. Likewise, we must recognise the team of volunteers who organised and managed the ULSU Charity Week - it simply could not have taken place without them.
 
“Each and every one of them contributed to making the week so successful. The campus community responded with such generosity... Thanks to each and every one of the volunteers who made this happen.”
 
Chris O’Connor from Novas Initiatives said the charity was “overwhelmed” by the €7,500 donation.
 
He said: “Among 20 different services nationally we provide a Street Outreach programme in Limerick city 364 days per year, feeding the most marginalised people in the city.  Many of these people are homeless and sleeping on friends’ couches, living in temporary accommodation or simply find it difficult to cope.”
 
He added: “We are very grateful to all at the ULSU for helping us to get a great start on this fundraising drive.”
 
For more information on the four charities see the following:
 
Console
Phone: 01 6102638
Facebook & Twitter (@Console_Charity)
 
Share a Dream Foundation
Phone: 061200080
Facebook & Twitter (@shareadream)
 
Rape Crisis Midwest
Phone: 1800 311511/061 311511
Facebook & Twitter (@RapeCrisisMWest)
 
Novas Initiatives
Phone: (061) 370325
Facebook & Twitter (@novasireland)