By Ann Marie Foley - 07 November, 2018
“Children often find it difficult to express their feelings through language so by providing them with clay and paint, sand and crayons, we allow them to choose their own form of expression” – Sr Helen Culhane of the Children’s Grief Centre.
Mercy sister Helen Culhane was present to receive two National Lottery Good Causes Awards on behalf of the Children’s Grief Centre, Limerick.
The centre won the award in the youth section and the overall award, both of which were presented last Saturday 3 November, when finalists were present at the Clayton/Burlington Hotel in Dublin for a gala awards dinner hosted by TV presenter Karen Kostner. The awards show will be broadcast in full on Virgin TV on Sunday 11 November.
“We are overjoyed to receive this reward,” said Sr Helen Culhane of the Children’s Grief Centre. “Children often find it difficult to express their feelings through language so by providing them with clay and paint, sand and crayons, we allow them to choose their own form of expression. The impact of this work with children is incredible. As a result of attending the Children’s Grief Centre it has been shown that children are happier, more calm, and have less feelings of anger, guilt and sadness.”
In the video about the charity, prepared in advance of the awards, Sr Helen Culhane expressed the hope that Limerick winning the All-Ireland hurling final might be a good omen. In the video she is filmed playing hurling with the children. She said that this is the only service of its kind in Ireland and it has helped around 1,200 grieving young people.
The Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick was one of the 36 finalists and one of six in the Youth section. The centre is a place where children who have lost a loved one through separation, divorce or death can have a voice.
It was founded in 2009 by Sr Helen Culhane, a Sister of Mercy, and a support group of professionals with backgrounds in social work, psychotherapy, general practice, psychiatry and education.
The Children’s Grief Centre provides a place where children and young people can come to begin the process of healing with the support of friends, families and trained volunteers.
All services, including one-to-one support, are offered free of charge and are available for as long as needed. The Children’s Grief Centre is largely resourced through the efforts of volunteers and is reliant on funding from donations from parents and guardians who avail of services, from philanthropic organisations and from the HSE.
The awards are aimed at honouring the extraordinary work impacting on communities all over Ireland thanks to National Lottery Good Causes funding. The Children’s Grief Centre won a total of €35,000 to help the charity’s work.
Helen Culhane received the award for the Youth section from TV presenters Karen Kostner and Alan Hughes. The overall award was presented to Helen Culhane on behalf of the Children’s Grief Centre by Josepha Madigan, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Dermot Griffin, Chief Executive of the National Lottery.
The National Lottery Good Causes Awards winners in 2018 are:
Sport & Recreation – Dublin/Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team from Co. Wicklow
Health & Wellbeing – Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland from Co. Dublin
Community – North Offaly Community Development Network from Co. Offaly
Youth – Children’s Grief Centre from Co. Limerick
Arts & Culture – Waterford Healing Arts Trust from Co. Waterford
Heritage – St Catherine’s Church Restoration Committee from Co. Leitrim
Irish Language – Raidió Rí-Rá based in Co. Dublin
Good Cause of the Year overall award – Children’s Grief Centre from Co. Limerick.