Wednesday 22 May 2019

Variety of groups are recognised on the night

Public Participation Network annual awards night hosted by Bellingham Castle

Gerry Murphy Met Éireann and David Walsh
Gerry Murphy Met Éireann and David Walsh
Gerry Murphy Met Éireann presents Members of Lucht Siuil Oga with the Louth PPN Community & Voluntary Awards 2018 in Ethnic Minorities
Members of Drogheda Animal Rescue DAR winners of the Louth PPN Community & Voluntary Awards 2018 in Environment & Animals

Hubert Murphy

David Walsh proves that having a disability does not prevent you from being a key member of the volunteer community.

With the support of his carers, David is a full time, professional volunteer and makes his time available to charities for fundraising activities and fills his days by helping others.

Family Addiction Support Network Facilitators

Their role is to provide a service for family members experiencing extreme difficulties living with addiction. They provide three hours per week plus an extra two hours per month to deliver peer support to family members living with addiction issues.

Some facilitators have been involved for 16 years and continue to deliver an expert service thanks to their vast experience.

They also take part in fundraising and are true community heroes.

Craobh Rua

The Youth Project gives young people the opportunity to become active community members by providing leadership and child protection awareness training.

They also run a homework club and a youth club for five nights a week for people aged 8-18.

They have done so much for the Muirhevnamor area and have done everything from street clean ups to Christmas and holiday projects.

Alone (Louth)

The group now supports nearly 400 older people, triple the amount from last year.

Their service aims to tackle loneliness and support older people in their homes.

They run a befriending telephone service and organise social events.

Over 60% of the volunteers are aged over 60, also providing them with a great way to stay in the community.

Cuchulainn Celtic Strings group

Celtic strings is a community based group of young musicians who play and promote Irish Trad music in Louth and the North East.

They've played at cultural events throughout the region, including the Ulster Fleadh and the Fleadh in Drogheda.

Under the direction of Noreen McManus, these young people are doing something good for their community, while playing and enjoying their music.

Befriending project award honour for Paulette McArdle

One of the Special Awards presented went to Paulette McArdle from the Befriending Programme, a strand of the Drogheda and District Support for Older People group.

Paulette started the programme three years ago and the concept has really taken off.

Basically, they recruit volunteers who go to visit people in their community.

At the very start, Paulette visits possible clients and tells them about the service and if they want to take part.

Volunteers are then interviewed and vetted and eventually they meet their friend for up to one hour a week.

'They just sit down and talk, it's not about cleaning or bringing anything. Some people like to talk about old days and our volunteers sit down and listen and chat. It's about personal interaction and giving them time.

'People can be recommended to us for the service or family members might ask us. But people out there who might like to avail of it should just contact us and we'll take it from there.'

They have up to 35 matched couples at the moment.

'It has settled into the mindset and a lot of older people are embracing it. We have people from 25 up to 80 as volunteers and our clients are up to 100 years old.'

The service is for south Louth and East Meath as well as Ardee to Stamullen.

Reward for Drogheda rescue group

Drogheda Animal Rescue is marking 21 years this year, but admit that fundraising  is always an issue that impacts on their services.

Fiona Lee Gargan and Liza Clancy attended last week's award where DAR were honoured for their work.

They have between 50 to 70 volunteers and many foster animals, which is another vital point as they don't have the room at Bell's Court to cater for the numbers that are presented.

'We are always very busy, 12 months of the year,' Liza states.

They have found that people moving to new houses or renting are forced to surrender cats and dogs as their circumstances change.

'We always need volunteers and fundraisers,' Fiona adds.

Indeed, they would love to create a fundraising team to deal with that side of the service - so any takers out there?

DAR is seen as a point of contact with the public when they come across an animal in trouble.

Hundreds of animals have found their 'forever home' through the rescue service.

The Argus