Recognising unsung heroes

By Mary Dennehy

TALLAGHT’S tradition of recognising unsung heroes is continuing in the face of current challenges, with a volunteer from Kingswood receiving a Certificate of Appreciation this week.

As previously reported, the Tallaght Person of the Year Awards have been cancelled for 2020. 

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Valerie Gaynor, voluntary Director on the Kingswood community centre Board with Brian Dalton and Tommy Lillis

However, awards organisers Tallaght Community Council (TCC) has this year created a Certificate of Appreciation, which can be downloaded and presented to a person or group – anybody who deserves a ‘thank you’.

This week, The Echo caught up with 2019’s Tallaght Person of the Year, Sgt Andrew Callanan Community Award winner, Kingswood Community Centre.

In what has been a tough few months for community centres and the people who use their services, Kingswood Community Centre is continuing to look forward and, after receiving a grant, has just received a make-over.

The centre has, with a South Dublin County Partnership grant, put cladding on the outside of the building and fitted a number of new windows, insulating the community facility.

Living in Kingswood for nearly 40 years, Valerie Gaynor is a voluntary Director on the community centre Board.

“We are getting ready to re-open”, Valerie told The Echo.

“We have a few plans in place and are looking at new ways of working.

“We have started a Zoom Mother and Toddler group, which is going well.

“We’re really looking forward to getting back up-and-running and seeing everyone again.”

Valerie spoke with The Echo about the immense support in the community over recent months from residents, community groups and businesses.

When asked who the Kingswood Community Centre would give their Certificate of Appreciation to, Valerie put forward resident Rose Cooney.

“Rose lives in the area and runs a community draw every Christmas”, Valerie said.

“At the moment she’s preparing to do the draw again and is getting prizes together.

“Rose has been doing this draw for years, with the money raised supporting the community.

“She also does clean-ups around by the shops, and in the park…she’s amazing, and has done all of this great work through Covid.

“We would like to give our Certificate of Appreciation to Rose.”

Valerie added: “There are so many people out there giving their free time to the betterment of their community.

“I don’t think people always realise the amount of work that goes into volunteering.

“As a community centre we would be aware of the great work being done, and it’s inspiring.”

Valerie stressed how businesses in the locality have also stepped in to support the community, including the Kingswood Lodge pub, the retailers in the local shopping centre and Amazon, among others.

“I think local businesses do have a contribution to make to their community and when they do take that [contribution] serious, it makes a huge difference”, Valerie said.

Alongside thanking Rose, members of the wider community and local businesses, Valerie wished to acknowledge the community centre staff – and Manager Grainne Wall.

“We really appreciate the staff’s continuing support and their contributions to keep things going in recent months”, she said.

“Despite the centre being closed, anything they have been able to do, they have done… and they are all really looking forward to getting back open as well.”

While activities and services have not resumed at the centre, people are invited to follow the Kingswood Community Centre on Facebook or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if they have any queries.

TCC has encouraged members of the community to virtually present their Certificate of Appreciation by email or by tagging their unsung hero or group on social media using the hastag #OurHeroesYourChoice.

The certificate is available to download from The Echo website here; http://echo.ie/CertificateOfAppreciation.pdf.

Visit the Tallaght Community Council Facebook page or Twitter account for further details on its #OurHeroesYourChoice initiaitve.

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