|Tadhg Furlong and Jack McGrath scrum down with Special Olympics Leinster athlete Jonathan Kilpatrick|
Leinster Rugby have this morning announced two new charity partners for the season ahead with LauraLynn Children's Hospice and Special Olympics. The announcement came on the back of a thorough and widespread selection process conducted by a newly formed CSR Committee during the summer months.
LauraLynn is a hospice providing end-of-life and respite care for children with life-limiting conditions, and support to their families. Special Olympics is a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability and the focus of the partnership will be with the Leinster and the Eastern regions.
At the announcement, special guests from LauraLynn and Special Olympics Leinster met Leinster Rugby players and coaches and they also got a unique behind the scenes tour of the Leinster Rugby facilities. Leinster Rugby CEO, Mick Dawson outlined the vision for the year ahead.
"This is the first time that we have reached out in this way to the community and invited applications from charitable organisations. We were overwhelmed with the response with 78 submissions received from charities both big and small but all deserving of our support. The CSR Committee had the unenviable task of filtering through these submissions, shortlisting a final eight and finally submitting to players, coaching staff and the wider Leinster Rugby family a final three. We are very grateful to the CSR Committee for their work in this regard.
"We are very happy that both LauraLynn and Special Olympics Leinster are on board for the season ahead. We believe that both charities will be able to benefit from this association and that the Leinster supporters and wider family will embrace these organisations and will support them in whatever way possible.”
Speaking on behalf of LauraLynn, Sharon Morrow, CEO, said, "We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Leinster Rugby for selecting LauraLynn as their charity for the 2014/2015 season. It is an amazing opportunity for LauraLynn to reach the Leinster Rugby community. Leinster Rugby and their supporters will be helping provide critical care and support to Ireland's most vulnerable children and their families, making the most of short and precious lives.”
Annette Codd, Regional Director, Special Olympics Leinster, commented, "Special Olympics Leinster is delighted to have been selected as one of Leinster Rugby's charity partners for the coming season.
"We are looking forward to developing and strengthening our relationships with Leinster Rugby staff, players and clubs. This is a fantastic opportunity for our organisation and athletes as it provides us with a forum to increase our recognition and visibility within the sporting, public and corporate worlds.
"This partnership will also assist in improving the long-term sustainability of our sports training and competition program, coach development and health promotion programs, whilst also helping to strengthen activity at a community level.”
In addition to having LauraLynn and Special Olympics Leinster on board for the season ahead, Leinster Rugby outlined plans to engage with other charities. Leinster Rugby media manager and chair of the CSR Committee, Marcus Ó Buachalla, said,"It was an enormous challenge to select two charities from 78 proposals but we also saw it as an opportunity to reach out to other charities for the season ahead.
"Our Academy already has a great relationship with another charity, Lakers Social and Recreational Club, but we saw in the submissions that there were so many other charities that we could help and the players were keen to do just that. In that regard we have set up an online application system for charities to request formally, on a monthly basis, a helping hand from Leinster Rugby be that through tickets or signed merchandise or whatever they feel we in Leinster can contribute.
"The players, the coaches and all the staff in Leinster Rugby are looking forward to the year ahead with LauraLynn, Special Olympics Leinster and the possibilities that lie ahead for all the charities in question.”
Further information on the charity partners, in addition to how your charity can apply for support from Leinster Rugby can be found at www.leinsterrugby.ie/