Derry Girls star backs local project for major award

Derry Girl Saoirse Monica Jackson (Erin) visits National Lottery funded HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) family support group and suicide prevention charity, to support their bid to be named Best Health Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards. Included, from left are staff members Tina Burns, Sadie O'Reilly and Pauline McCloskey.
Derry Girl Saoirse Monica Jackson (Erin) visits National Lottery funded HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) family support group and suicide prevention charity, to support their bid to be named Best Health Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards. Included, from left are staff members Tina Burns, Sadie O'Reilly and Pauline McCloskey.

Derry Girls star Saoirse-Monica Jackson has given her support to local charity HURT (Have Your Tomorrows) as they attempt to win a National Lottery Award.

The actor, who played Erin Quinn in the hit Channel 4 comedy, visited the project on Tuesday to learn more about their life-saving work in the field of addiction services.

HURT, which has been supported by National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund, is a family support group and suicide prevention charity which offers help to people suffering from addiction and their families.

It was set up by Sadie O’Reilly following the death of her son Tony from a drug overdose.

They are appealing for votes in order to be named Best Health Project in the 2018 National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the public’s favourite National Lottery funded projects.

During her visit, Saoirse met Sadie and the rest of the HURT team and joined young people taking part in one of the organisation’s personal development programmes.

Saoirse-Monica said: “I was delighted to be able to meet Sadie O’Reilly and her fantastic team at HURT.

“Drug and alcohol addiction is such an important issue and Derry, like many other places, has its fair share of problems. However, it is heartening to learn that organisations like HURT can offer much needed help and assistance not only to people suffering from addiction but their families too.

Sadie added: “It was a great honour to welcome Saoirse to HURT. The success of Derry Girls put our city and our young people on the map for all the right reasons. Saoirse is a great ambassador for Derry and our young people.

“Over the years, we at HURT, must have worked with thousands of real-life Derry girls and boys and their families providing addiction support services.

“Funding from the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, have been vital in helping us carry out this vital work. It would mean so much to us all to win a National Lottery Award and we are immensely grateful for Saoirse’s support.”

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, said: “A total of £1 billion of National Lottery players’ money has been invested in more than 20,000 projects in Northern Ireland.

“The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.

“Sadie O’Reilly and the HURT charity are a shining example of the inspirational work that is carried out within communities through Northern Ireland with the help of National Lottery funding.”

To vote for HURT in the 2018 National Lottery Awards, please visit www/lottery.goodcauses.org.uk/awards/health, call 0844 836 9695 or post a tweet on Twitter containing their hashtag #NLAHurt

Voting close at midnight on July 27.

There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, Arts, Education, Environment, Health, Heritage, Sport and Voluntary/Charity.

The winners, who will be announced in September will receive a £5,000 prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and will be honoured a star-studded ceremony in London which will be broadcast on BBC One later in September.