Offaly County Council in partnership with the Offaly Independent newspaper were delighted to hold their inaugural Offaly Community Recognition Awards 2021 on Friday 18th June 2021 at 8pm. Offaly County Council decided to hold the awards in order to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding community efforts by individuals, groups and volunteers in County Offaly during the past difficult year.
The high number of entries and nominations received under the 7 categories were an acknowledgement of the outstanding community efforts that individuals and groups have delivered in County Offaly during the Covid pandemic.
Both the Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, and the Chief Executive acknowledged the great variety of community supports which were put in place in County Offaly, and these were reflected in the category Winners and Runners Up.
Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Councillor John Carroll advised viewers of the awards ceremony that as a member of Offaly’s Community Response Forum he witnessed first-hand the virtues of the collaborative work between community organisations, Offaly County Council and other statutory bodies throughout the past year.
“Covid Emergency Funding was distributed by the Council in 2020 to a wide number of essential front-line services such as Meals on Wheels, Saint Vincent de Paul, Offaly Domestic Violence Service, the Family Resource Centres, the Order of Malta, and a variety of organisations were assisted with funding to purchase digital supports to enable them to engage remotely with their clients. These supports made an enormous difference in our communities”.
Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney said “Our awards are taking place this year by virtual means but we must acknowledge that for the past year our citizen’s volunteering efforts have been very real in every aspect.
For many months throughout 2020, volunteers across the county visited and phoned isolated and vulnerable members of our communities, delivered their shopping or medicines, and provided a wide range of supports to them. Actions like these have been enormously important, they have undoubtedly saved lives, as well as providing essential social and physical requirements for people who were struggling to cope.
We have continued to cope, and on behalf of Offaly County Council I pay tribute to you all for your enduring efforts. We will continue to support you and support those in our communities who need our help most now, and in the future.”
The awards were virtually presented to the winners on the night by Michael Duignan, Chairman of Offaly GAA and Offaly Community Champion who also interviewed each winner over Zoom. All award winners and runners up were outstanding and worthy of recognition. A few examples demonstrate how the efforts of some individuals and groups in Offaly had an enormous impact on their communities at a time of need.
Daingean GAA won the ‘Above and Beyond’ Award, where the 300 club members volunteered to foot the turf for older members of the community who could not get out due to Covid. Also recognised on the night was young Jack McDermott who won the Individual Impact Award. Jack is only 9 years old and suffers from a rare illness, but he walked over 210 km to raise money for the Children's Day Ward in Crumlin Hospital, raising over €11,550 in the process.
Congratulations to all of our worthy Winners and Runner Ups listed below:
Above and Beyond Award
Bernie Ryan Keegan, Gallen CS
Business Champion Award
Shishir Restaurant, Tullamore
The Square Café, Tullamore
Climate Change Award
Scoil Mhuire Naofa, Rhode
Clonbullogue Development Association
Community Collaboration Award
Pullough Community Shop
Kilcormac Development Association
Digital Support Award
Awfully Irish Podcast
Ballycommon Telework & Training Centre
Individual Impact Award
Jack McDermott, Tullamore
Caroline Bryant, Mucklagh
Social Inclusion Award
Martina Gorman, Killeigh
Lloyd Bracken ‘Little Town Media’
Pride of Place entrants 2020 recognised
Glendaniel Residents Association, Tullamore
Lusmagh Development Group
The video of the Community Recognition Awards is available on www.Offaly.ie , on the Offaly Independent website at http://www.offalyindependent.ie/ and on social media platforms over the next few weeks.