18 July 2022
People First Sponsor Annual Community & Voluntary Awards
Never has Community spirit and voluntary effort been so important and valuable, in sustaining all of our communities through what has been a very difficult and trying year. Laois County Council in conjunction with Laois PPN, wishes to recognize community organisations and individuals who work tirelessly in their community.
The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge groups and individuals who, through their commitment to voluntary and community activities, have played a significant role, in enhancing the quality of life in their communities.
The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr. Thomasina Connell, launching the 2022 Laois Community & Voluntary Awards, said “ I am pleased to announce the creation of the new categories. There are so many selfless individuals throughout the county, who freely give up their time, to help those within their community. These awards are a brilliant way to recognise the tireless work they do” .
“The willingness to volunteer is amongst the most noble of personal traits. It puts others before yourself and represents a selfless act of kindness to others in our community,” noted the Chief Executive of Laois County Council, John Mulholland. These past 2 years or so have seen volunteerism at its best and volunteers throughout County Laois have been magnificent in what they have provided to our community by way of assistance, support or just simply being there and being ready to help people in need.
Volunteers have a great track record to make time to give to others in a diverse range of services, be it fundraising, helping neighbours or maybe organising local events for the betterment of their communities.
Each year the Community & Voluntary Awards Event rightly celebrates and acknowledges the significant and highly valued role that volunteers play in our communities and Laois County Council is pleased as ever to host the event."
Seán Dunne, CEO, People First Credit Union said, “As a community embedded volunteer driven organisation, People First Credit Union are delighted to be associated with the Laois Community & Voluntary Awards 2022. We have hands on experience of the time, effort and dedication given by Volunteers to better their communities. And we strongly believe these efforts should be acknowledged and rewarded. Thank you for your work.”
Nina Horan, Chairperson of Laois PPN: “Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless.” (Sherry Anderson).
To volunteer of your time is an intriguing act of selflessness. It signifies obvious qualities such as empathy and benevolence. However, when you drill down, it is actually also about proactivity: volunteers not only see a need in their community, they act to do something about it. That is what makes the substantive difference in the lives of others.
We all benefit from this unique and dynamic combination of characteristics, whether directly or indirectly. For instance, from enjoying local St Patrick’s Day parades, through to the work of organisations such as The Tidy Towns, our lives are brightened, and our environments made prettier. The benefits cannot be overstated.
It is true- volunteers and community group members don’t get paid. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean we cannot award their pricelessness. So, Laois PPN in conjunction with Laois County Council is delighted to play a part in singing their praises at the 2022 Laois Community and Voluntary Awards. Whose song will be sung? Nominations are now open! “
Pat Somers, Leinster Express and Laois Live Editor, said it was an honour to be media partner in such important awards. "Volunteers are the lifeblood of local communities and their selfless work deserves due recognition. The Leinster Express is privileged to play its part in honouring the tireless work that goes on in local communities."
2022 marks a change in the awards. This year, the categories have been refreshed, to give more people an opportunity to enter . This year includes a new Sports Award. It focuses on groups or schools, who have focused on physical health, increasing the number of people participating in the sport, particularly those with a low participation rate.
Next up we have Best Kept Residential Area. This award recognises the hard work and dedication shown in residential areas throughout Laois, recognises the great pride people have in their own communities, recognise the value of our biodiversity and continue to put in a huge effort, on behalf of the places where they live.
Another new category is Health and Well Being. This award recognises community health and wellbeing initiatives i.e mental health, sexual health, awareness raising & promotion around medical conditions, disorders and disabilities, including opportunities for social connections, increased meaningful daily activities, developing confidence and providing a sense of purpose & positive self-worth for citizens in the community.
Finally, we have added the Junior Volunteer of the Year award. This award recognises the outstanding contribution young people throughout the county, have made to their local Community. Every community has individuals who are boundless in their energy and determination to get things done.
Caitriona Ryan, Manager, Laois Volunteer Centre said “Laois Volunteer Centre is delighted to work with so many young people who volunteer their time, energy and skills to a diverse range of community and voluntary groups around the county. It is important to recognise and support our young volunteers who bring fresh ideas, new perspectives and energy to so many organisations. Young people who so generously give of their time and skills now are likely to take on important leadership roles in the future. They should be encouraged so that their skills can be developed and their talents grown. In so doing, they will go on to inspire and empower their peers to become involved in their local communities. I would also urge young (and not so young!!) people and community groups to get in touch with our centre by logging onto any of our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram or at www.volunteerlaois.ie,”
The following are the other 2 categories for the 2022 awards:
Arts, Culture &Heritage - which recognises Groups/Organisations who enhance their local areas, by conserving, protecting and promoting the Arts, Culture and Heritage of their local community through collective creative activities. Examples include: Drama, Music, Literature, Arts, Festivals, Conservation, and Heritage.
Social Inclusion - which recognises Groups/Organisations that actively work in a supportive role in their communities and whose aim is to minimise social exclusion and/or help to improve the quality of life for socially excluded groups. Examples include; Working with the elderly, People with Disabilities, Ethnic Minority, Travelling Community, Young people in transition, LGBTI+ and the Homeless.
Each group and individual nominated will be presented with a Certificate acknowledging their contribution to the community and voluntary effort in Laois. There will also be award winners and runners up across a range of categories. One of the most anticipated awards each year, goes to an individual, who the judges believe puts in such effort that they can be regarded as somewhat of an Unsung Hero, for the work they do.
The winner of each category will receive €500, while the runner-up will receive €250
Individuals can be nominated for the Junior Volunteer of the Year and Unsung Hero Awards
So, go ahead and get nominating your local community and voluntary groups and individuals.
Remember the date!! Closing Date for receipt of Nominations is 29th July, 2022 at 4.00pm