Carmel Lonergan, General Manager of Cork International Hotel, presenting Karen O’Mahony CEO and Founder of The Rainbow Club with the Community Spirit Award, alongside Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mary Rose Desmond, Emma O’Sullivan, Club Manager, and volunteers Samantha Fitzgerald and Carmel O’Leary. Photo: Siobhán Russell

Award for the Rainbow Club

The club which helps children to develop their social skills using a wide range of activities has won a community spirit award.

The Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism has been chosen as The Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Award winner for May.

Based at Mahon Community Centre, the club is a lifeline for children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. It is supported by a team of more than 60 volunteers.

The Rainbow Club was founded in 2015 by Karen O’Mahony and her husband Jon, in response to their search for services for their two sons Stephen and Sean who have ASD. They created a coordinated, holistic centre to provide services and support under one roof. In 2020, the organisation supported more than 450 children.

Specially trained volunteers give up their time every week, helping staff to run social groups and extra workshops in art, drama, sports, baking, lego and gaming.

General Manager of the Cork International Hotel, Carmel Lonergan said: “I am delighted to see the Rainbow Club receive recognition for the vital work they do in their community. It is an organisation that is very close to our hearts at the Cork International Hotel and was our charity of choice for the last two years.

“As a hotel, we have a strong focus on ASD awareness and are proud to offer a safe environment for families and children with autism, in fact, the Rainbow Club was instrumental in assisting us in this area.”

She concluded: “Karen, her staff and their wonderful team of volunteers work tirelessly to help hundreds of families every week. The volunteers are crucial in an organisation like the Rainbow Club and I am thrilled to see their hard work and dedication recognised.”

The Rainbow Club is the fifth monthly winner of The Cork International Hotel Community Spirit Award.

The award was established to honour volunteers who are making a significant contribution to their community and sees a group or individual chosen every month with an overall winner selected at the end of the year.

It is open to community groups and organisations in Cork from first-responders to community centres, victim support services to sports groups and those volunteering in the health and disability sectors.