Have you ever wondered what Dublin Bus does with bus fare receipts that go unclaimed every year?
SOME people are of the opinion that the money is languishing unloved in a dormant bank account. Others seem to think that the money is divvied out by Dublin Bus staff among themselves. Yes, the monies are shared out, but in such a way as to aid and assist the community that Dublin Bus itself serves as the largest transport provider in the capital.
Over the years the company has implemented various social responsibility initiatives with the main one being the Dublin Bus Community Support Programme (CSP). The CSP was launched in December 2003 to support charities and organisations in the greater Dublin area, which also includes parts of Kildare, Wicklow and Meath, by awarding grants of €1,000, €2,000 and €5,000, all funded from long-term unclaimed bus change receipts. Former Ireland star and Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has been patron of the programme since its inception.
Local groups can apply for funding under the following headings: Children, Sport, People with Disabilities, Older People, Environment and Local Community and Education, which includes alcohol, drugs, literacy and health.
The submissions are then adjudicated on by an independent judging panel, which culminates in an awards ceremony where the winners are officially informed of the size of the grant which they have been awarded with amounts ranging from €1,000 to €5,000. The ceremony is another way of recognising the fantastic work that is being carried out at ground level by these groups and their volunteers.
The ceremony takes place tomorrow in the Croke Park Conference Centre. We spoke to four of the worthy organisations who are up for an award and asked them how the funds would be used to benefit their group.
THE KILNAMANAGH TWIRLERS
The Kilnamanagh Twirlers have been baton twirling for 21 years. They started with 120 members but membership has almost halved due to the economic downturn.
"It's €15 a week to cover teaching, halls and insurance and some parents just can't afford it for their kids," explains Eileen Morris, Co-Director.
The Kilnamanagh Twirlers have competed at European and World events but it is a struggle to keep up to date with other professional teams. They applied to the CSP for funding to bring over foreign coaches to teach the group and help them maintain their world-class standards.
BRAY CHARITY AWARENESS
Bray Charity Awareness (BCA) is another organisation that will be at the ceremony.
BCA was founded by Des O'Toole in 2004 after a friend of a friend was diagnosed with cancer.
He decided to undertake a charity walk from Dublin to Wicklow (26 miles) to raise funds, and has done so every year since.
"The BCA is now run by a committee and to date has raised €150,000 which has been distributed to local charities, but these days we find we have to work harder than ever to raise funds," says Des.
"We applied to the CSP for funding to bring Santa to St Catherine's School in Newcastle, Co Wicklow.
"The school provides services to children with moderate, severe and profound learning disabilities," explains Des.
JUST LADS DUBLIN YMCA
Now in its second year, the Just Lads 12-week programme is run under the umbrella of the Dublin YMCA.
The programme is aimed at fathers and young men in the Dublin 2 and 8 areas who are out of work. It consists of classes in computers, DIY, health and nutrition among others. The programme helps these young men to develop a range of skills that help them realise their potential and, as a consequence, make them ready for work.
The programme last year was hugely successful in that a couple of men applied for and got jobs and one went on to do a college course.
The YMCA funded the programme themselves last year and it hoped to run another this summer but found it impossible with funding cutbacks.
Bernadette Grogan, Administrator with the YMCA, says: "The great news is that with the funds from Dublin Bus, a 12-week programme is now due to start on September 28, which will help provide a quality, enjoyable and worthwhile programme to men from our local community."
DUNDRUM ARCH CLUB
Since its foundation in 1976, the Dundrum Arch club has offered a secure, social environment for more than 100 members with special needs. Associations such as Dublin Bus make it possible for the club to achieve its goals.
Lorraine Keegan, the club secretary, says: "Our club applied for funding to roll out a Lamh sign-language programme. Lamh is a manual sign system which is designed for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Some of our members use Lamh as their form of communication, and by obtaining funding from Dublin Bus this will enable approximately 20 helpers to take part in the Lamh training, which is just fantastic!"