Eamonn White in the running for top volunteer award
By Mary Dennehy
EAMONN White of Swan Family Support in Fettercairn has been shortlisted for this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards, a fitting tribute for the centre manager who goes above and beyond to provide therapeutic support to children and families affected by drug and alcohol misuse.
Based in Fettercairn since 2000, Swan is a grassroots project developed after members of the community identified a need to support all family members and individuals under stress as a result of a loved one’s addiction.
The only service of its type in Ireland, Swan has spent the past 16 years raising the importance of family support when it comes to treating addiction issues – providing holistic support not only to the person suffering from addiction but parents, partners, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters.
Eamonn is the only paid employee on Swan’s books, with the rest of the team made up of CE scheme and Tusla workers – all of whom are trained to a very high standard while on the job.
However, due to the nature of the CE and Tusla schemes, employees only stay at a placement for a certain amount of time, which results in Eamonn losing valuable and trained members.
Due to a lack of funding and resources, Eamonn volunteers many additional hours to the service each week – working days and evenings and adopting many different roles to create a safe haven for families, one which operates with an open door policy.
Eamonn told The Echo: “I’m delighted with the nomination and hopefully it gives me a chance to highlight everything that Swan does . . . including the extra efforts made by those based here.
“We support more than 100 families a week and also provide outreach to community groups, we’re flat out, but the difference that we make to families makes all of the hard work worth it.”
Eamonn is among 29 exceptional volunteers who have been shortlisted from more than 500 nominees, and will be celebrated at this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards in City Hall, Dublin, on December 7.
Commenting on the shortlist for the Volunteer Ireland Awards, South Dublin County Volunteer Centre Manager Tricia Nolan said: “Thousands of people across Ireland volunteer each day, giving their time without asking for anything in return.
“This is a chance for us to recognise exceptional volunteers like Eamonn and really celebrate volunteering in Ireland.
“Reading their individual stories is truly inspiring and we are honoured to shine a light on their work. Thanks to volunteers like Eamonn, Ireland is ranked number one in Europe on the World Giving Index for volunteering time and South Dublin County should be proud.”
For further information on the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2016 visit www.volunteer.ie