Cork charity set to welcome back children sooner than expected after vital funds raised by local hotel

Cork charity set to welcome back children sooner than expected after vital funds raised by local hotel

Carmel Lonergan, Gen. Manager of the Cork Inernational Hotel (right) with Karen O'Mahony, Founder of the Rainbow Club, Cork, Centre for Autism. Pic: Brian Lougheed.

The Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism has welcomed the arrival of its new portable cabins which will cater for groups and free up spaces on waiting lists once restrictions are eased.

Two new portable cabins arrived at the club at Mahon Community Centre on Tuesday after a total of €40,095 was raised through a unique competition ran by Cork International Hotel last month.

Tickets to win an exclusive stay were made available to buy in what was a one of a kind competition which General Manager of the hotel Carmel Lonergan said was won by “a lovely family from Kerry” included a two-night stay for up to 30 family members over the weekend of July 11, ahead of the hotels official reopening on July 13.

Ms Lonergan said that the funds have seen The Rainbow Club "probably two months ahead of what they thought they could do" and it was "so nice to be able to do something for charity and give back to the community" through the first of its kind competition.

“The idea came originally when we did have to close and were thinking about reopening and there not being any business and what would we do with an empty building and I know me and my family are always talking about going away somewhere and renting it and having it to ourselves so then I was thinking maybe somebody would rent the hotel themselves for the weekend but the way things are for people, that was probably unlikely to happen so we said the opportunity is there so let’s do something to give back," she said.

Founded by Karen and Jon O'Mahony, The Rainbow Club offers a range of supports such as occupational therapy, speech and language, and play and art therapies.

The new portable cabins have given the club the opportunity to bring children back to the club earlier than anticipated.

Previously speaking to The Echo, Ms O’Mahony expressed concern surrounding funding and the social impacts restrictions have had on those who use the club’s services.

Fundraising activities for the club which supports a total of 458 children with 300 families on its waiting list were cancelled due to the pandemic.

"We are not government funded and 85% of our income comes from fundraising, which is gone.

Carmel Lonergan, Gen. Manager of the Cork Inernational Hotel (right) with Karen O'Mahony, Founder of the Rainbow Club, Cork, Centre for Autism. Pic: Brian Lougheed.
Carmel Lonergan, Gen. Manager of the Cork Inernational Hotel (right) with Karen O'Mahony, Founder of the Rainbow Club, Cork, Centre for Autism. Pic: Brian Lougheed.

"This year was meant to be really busy for us. We had between two and four events lined up for each month which obviously couldn't go ahead.

"We are delighted that the Cork International Hotel is offering up this amazing prize as all money raised will be greatly appreciated by us,” she said.

Ms O’Mahony thanked all who supported the campaign and General Manager of Cork International Hotel Carmel Lonergan who “pushed the campaign to raise the amount it did” and said that the club is “so lucky to have amazing people who are making dreams come true for many families” who have been missing the club’s services.

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