Irish Olympians, Rob and Marian Heffernan, have launched the inaugural National Lottery Good Causes Awards.

The awards will recognise the difference that National Lottery-funded projects have made to communities throughout the country in recent years.

Almost 30 cent in every euro spent on National Lottery games — more than €619,000 per day — is used to support good causes in the area of sports, arts and culture, heritage, youth, health and community.

Last year alone more than €226m was raised by players of National Lottery games for such good causes.

Individuals, community projects and organisations who received Good Causes funding between 2014 and 2016 are eligible to apply for the awards, with beneficiaries judged on how they used the money provided.

Rob is an Olympic bronze medalist race walker and Marian is his coach.

The Cork couple say they would not have been able to plan programmes and win medals without funding.

“We have a great funding structure here in Ireland. All of our four children are involved in sports and we see the impact that funding has on the clubs they are involved in,” said Rob.

“Irish sportsmen and women need to be funded in order to reach their full potential and the contribution of the National Lottery Good Causes grants to sporting organisations has been immense.”

And, having made it to the quarter final of the second season of Dancing with the Stars, Rob also appreciates the amount of funding spent on the arts.

Marian, a 400m sprinter, who competed at the London Olympics, has been Rob’s coach since she retired from athletics in 2012. She is also a qualified sports injuries therapist.

Rob has competed in five Olympics starting in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.

His many achievements include winning bronze medals at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2010 European Championships, along with winning gold at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.

Pictured at the launch in Dublin Castle was Irish Olympic Heros Rob and Marian Heffernan with Kate Finnegan,Aisling Ni Cheallaigh,Sara Granda and Marie Dee from Fidget Feet a Limerick-based aerial dance group all of whom benefitted from National Lottery funding. Pic Julien Behal

Rob said he is currently “in training” but was not giving much away about what is his next sporting challenge.

He could still pull on the Irish singlet again for this summer’s European Championships in Berlin and has previously revealed his passion for coaching.

Businessman and broadcaster, Bobby Kerr, has agreed to chair the awards’ judging panel

The winners will be announced in November. Each category winner will receive €10,000 and the overall Good Cause of the Year will receive an additional €25,000.

People can check whether they are eligible to enter at


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