Cork Company of the Year Awards 2017: The non-profit category

In the final week of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2017, Pádraig Hoare casts an eye over those in the non-profit category.

Cork Company of the Year Awards 2017: The non-profit category

Cork Opera House still loved 161 years on

It has overcome challenge after challenge in its 161 years — Cork’s famed Opera House is now as well-known for its tenacity and resilience as it is for its commitment to the arts.

Last year was the fourth in-a-row that Cork Opera House posted profits, a testament to the dedication and passion of its stakeholders to grow the beloved venue’s commercial capacity, as well as enhancing its artistic standing, year on year.

Cork Opera House has been celebrating and promoting creativity in the Cork and wider Munster region for 161 years, holding a special place in the hearts of the people of Cork.

Having been confronted by many challenges throughout its history, each time it has faced them head on and emerged each time with new vigour, determined to fulfil its mandate as arts provider for the people of Munster.

It has survived bankruptcy and even being burned down, yet in 2017 it is a shining light of what Cork has to offer as a city.

Even the recent recession couldn’t keep the great institution down, with Cork Opera House battling back from the brink of financial disaster to once again shine into a beacon of prudent management.

With over 200,000 people passing through its doors annually, Cork Opera House sees itself not only as the cultural heart of Cork City but also a significant contributor to its social and economic well-being. There were 267 performances for punters to savour in 2016.

Employing 28 full-time and 72 seasonal part-time staff, Cork Opera House also takes its role in developing young Cork talent as seriously as it does in putting on memorable shows. In 2015 and 2016, 12 stage schools, with more than 2,760 local children, were introduced to the magic of showbusiness.

The 22 cafés and restaurants within a five-minute walk of Cork Opera House have also benefited from its triumphant four years, with estimates that it adds €13m to the local economy annually.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber in its non-profit category is testament to the renaissance in the past four years, it says.

Chairman Damian Wallace said: “We are delighted to be included as one of the finalists, as it is a very significant recognition of the important role that Cork Opera House plays in the commercial and artistic life of the City. Over the last few years we have consistently exceeded our targets and achieved our goals and this has impacted positively on our business, resulting in better shows, bigger audiences and a consequent positive spin off for the business community in Cork.”

Enable Ireland a genuine Cork gem

It is an organisation that a whole city should be grateful to have - Enable Ireland has done its community proud in assisting thousands of families in 63 outstanding years in Cork.

Enable Ireland Cork provides vital therapy and support services to more than 640 children and 60 adults with disabilities and their families. Founded in 1954 by volunteers, Enable Ireland Cork has supported thousands of children and adults to reach their full potential.

In an indication of how goodwill and generosity of spirit can lift an entire city, the 47 employees are joined by hundreds of volunteers to work with children, adults and their grateful families.

Those employees and volunteers work tirelessly to make sure the children and adults of Cork get the very best care and support possible.

Children attending the service receive vital therapies including occupational, speech and language, physical therapy and hydrotherapy at an individual and group level.

Enable Ireland Cork has four locations – a children’s service at the Lavanagh Centre, an adult service centre in Little Island, a respite house in Ladysbridge and a residential house in Blackrock to support independent living for adults with disability.

This gem of an organisation has reached a milestone this year with the decision that the Lavanagh Centre in Ballintemple is no longer fit to accommodate the needs of the children and families using services there. It means a state-of-the-art new children’s service centre in Curraheen.

Running Enable Ireland Cork is not an easy thing to do but year after year the organisation rises to the occasion, bringing the best out of Cork people who respond to the fundraising cause.

Every year Enable Ireland Cork needs more than €2m in funding in addition to State funding to meet the costs of delivering services - 90% of all money received is spent on disability services. Funds raised in Cork stay in Cork.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber is a source of great pride for Enable Ireland Cork, it says.

CEO of Enable Ireland, Fionnuala O’Donovan, said: "We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2017. Our planned new Children’s Service Centre in Curraheen is a very important development for the children in Cork City and County.

"Once open, it will allow us to provide vital therapy and supports to over 640 children with disabilities every year.

"The parents and children who use our services in Cork city and county deserve to have a world-class, modern centre that is custom built to support their needs. We look forward to working with the business community in Cork to make this a reality."

Shine Ireland striving to change lives

For 16 years, Shine Ireland has been a champion of children and families affected by autism in Cork - its impact on the city and county has been such it is hard to imagine what we would do without it.

Established in 2001 by the parents of children with autism, Shine has always been a child-centred and client-focused organisation.

Its mission is a simple one - to brighten the future for children and families affected by autism.

Let there be no doubt, however, that simple mission has brought profound and moving change for families all over Cork.

Shine Ireland’s goal is reflected in its commitment to always put the child and family at the centre of every decision made.

Through innovative and effective services, Shine Ireland continues to positively impact the lives of thousands of families affected by autism in Cork and worldwide through its award-winning app series.

And what an impact its app series has made, not just in Cork, not just in Ireland, but the entire world.

Shine Ireland is committed to reaching as many children as possible with innovative programmes like its Social Skills app which has positively impacted over 40,000 families across the world. Imagine that, children in Cork are getting such world-class support it is coveted around the globe.

As Shine Ireland says, it continues to stretch out beyond its geographical reach to change lives.

Based at the Shine Centre on Ballinrea Road, Carrigaline, there are 16 staff working tirelessly for families. Shine Ireland provides services such as an early intervention unit, life skills programmes, social skills programmes, educational support service, family support, advocacy services and a parent helpline.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber is a source of great satisfaction that Shine Ireland continues to make massive strides in its field.

Director of Shine Ireland, Eoin Motherway, said: “To be chosen as a finalist is a great endorsement that our organisation is achieving momentum yet adhering to ethical standards and the expectation of probity.

“We fight every day to put a dent in the challenge of autism, locally through our centre in Cork and virtually through our technology apps.

“Public support and sentiment for Not-For-Profits is in the cold shadow of recent scandals and the vision of Cork Chamber to showcase the positive societal impact of the Not for Profit sector must be applauded.”

The Everyman’s beating heart will never be still

It has been described as the beating heart of theatre in Cork - a look at the history, vibrance and excellence of The Everyman in Cork tells you why this passionate heart will never be still.

There is no magic formula for why it has worked so beautifully for so long - it is actually the other way around.

There are no gimmicks or fancy tricks - The Everyman has and always will work on the premise that the audience is central to everything it does.

As the theatre staff and performers will always say, you are nothing without that wonderful audience.

In its own words, The Everyman offers tremendous support to local artists through regular partnership, professional development, and employment.

It is a not-for-profit organisation that maintains a powerful connection with Cork and Irish audiences, preserving its listed building on MacCurtain Street for generations to come.

It is committed to programming which enables the whole family to enjoy theatre, programming which entertains, highlights and engages with societal issues.

With a core staff of 27, throughout the year The Everyman provides employment for up to 5,000 artists, technicians and everyone involved in the process of making the theatre a memorable experience.

The Victorian auditorium is a nationally important structure of rare historical and cultural value and The Everyman has been an iconic symbol of theatrical excellence for 120 years.

Not only content with enriching the fabric of Cork, Munster and Ireland through delivering a diverse programme in a stunning heritage venue, it has also been a boon to the thriving restaurant, gastro and bustling bar scene on the famous old street, ensuring millions go to the immediate local economy annually.

There is scarcely a night those in attendance at a wonderful performance don’t make a great Cork night of it and have a meal or a few drinks on MacCurtain Street.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber brings great satisfaction for all involved in making The Everyman that beating heart.

Executive director and CEO, Sean Kelly, said: “We are, of course, delighted the Chamber have honoured the Everyman by selecting us as finalist of the Cork Company of the Year awards.

“The Everyman has made tremendous strides in recent years and there are even more exciting times ahead.

“This nomination is a recognition of vital role that the Everyman plays in Cork’s cultural life and of the hard work and dedication of all of our team.”

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