Volunteers honoured

By Mary Dennehy

SOUTH Dublin County was presented with four accolades at the National Volunteer Awards 2020, with engraved trophies this year delivered to the winners at home.

More than 800 volunteers were nominated in this year’s awards, with two volunteer groups and two individuals based in South Dublin County named winners in the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2020.

Volunteer Awards South Dublin County Volunteer Corps 1

Tricia Nolan, South Dublin County Volunteer Manager with volunteers at the Citywest Covid-19 test centre

Local winners this year included Noelle Fitzsimons who was nominated for being a court accompaniment volunteer with Victim Support at Court.

Noelle has provided a safe and supportive environment to victims of all types of crime, their family and friends and prosecution witnesses when they attend court.

Karen Byrne a volunteer group leader with Children in Hospital Ireland, a charity that provides opportunity for children to play while in hospital, also won an award.

Karen, who lives in Citywest, manages and participates in the Saturday morning volunteer group at Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

The Serve the City volunteers also scooped an award for playing a central role in helping vulnerable groups and individuals.

Volunteer Awards Noelle Fitzsimons 1

Noelle Fitzsimons.

According to Volunteer Ireland, during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, Serve the City volunteers responded to the needs of thousands of families and individuals who were cocooning and who required supports with the collection and delivery of food, essential household items, fuel and medication.

The final award to a local group went to the South Dublin County Volunteer Corps, which is a project of the South Dublin Volunteer Centre.

The Covid-19 Test Centre Volunteers worked in Tallaght stadium initially and later in the Citywest testing site to serve as a “effective first point of contact” for those arriving for Covid tests.

Volunteer Awards Serve the City Ronan Coffey 1

Serve the City Ronan Coffey

Volunteers welcomed people arriving for tests, “reassuring them, being a friendly and kind face as well as providing an efficient check-in service” for those arriving for their test.

According to South Dublin County Volunteer Centre Manager, Tricia Nolan “We are incredibly lucky to have volunteers like these in South Dublin County.

“Volunteers are often unseen but the contribution they make to Irish society is immense.

Volunteer Awards Karen Byrne 1

Karen Byrne with her award

“These awards give us a chance to say thank you and celebrate the difference volunteers make every day.”

As a physical event was not possible this year, each awardee received a special surprise delivery from Volunteer Ireland announcing their win.

The special delivery included an engraved trophy, a framed message from President Higgins, complimentary tickets to EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum and a hamper of goodies to celebrate with.

All 805 volunteers nominated in this year’s awards also received a special thank you card from Volunteer Ireland.

Arthur and Deborah Carr were named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year for their “outstanding commitment” to supporting those in crisis in Galway.

According to Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all the winners of the Volunteer Ireland 2020 Awards, which are supported by my Department.

“After what has been a very challenging year for us all, it is all the more important to thank those volunteers who have gone the extra mile to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“In addition to the winners, I would also like to thank Volunteer Ireland for their work to support and champion volunteering around the country.”

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