THE crucial role played by the voluntary sector across Cork in assisting individuals and communities through the Covid pandemic has been recognised and honoured during a special ceremony in County Hall.
County Mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan, Cork County Council chief executive and Adam Lacey of the Cork Volunteer Centre were joined by more than 120 guests the event, timed to coincide with National Volunteer Week 2022.
They were joined online by local authorities from across Ireland in a national show of unity for the event, which Mayor Coughlan said was a fitting way to promote and highlight the unique value and contribution that volunteers make to Irish society.
“It was amazing to see how quickly communities, groups and individual volunteers came together in March of 2020. They ensured that the most vulnerable and those in need received support despite the risk posed by the virus,” said Mayor Coughlan.
“They queued outside supermarkets picking up the weekly shopping for neighbours, they delivered food parcels, fuel and meals-on-wheels, and became a vital lifeline for those who were cocooning or living alone,” she added.
Mr Lacey joined Mayor Coughlan in presenting specially commissioned pins and letters of recognition to recipient groups and individuals nominated through a dedicated volunteer portal.
“While the pandemic presented a plethora of new challenges for community groups across Cork, we also saw a tremendous number of people stepping up to offer their support,” said Mr Lacey.
“We applaud all volunteers for their efforts through these trying times, and our thanks go to Cork County Council, and the Department of Rural and Community Development for recognising the efforts of these worthy volunteers,” he added.
Tim Lucey said that more than 10,000 requests were made to the Cork County Council’s Covid-19 Community Support Programme over the course of the pandemic from people looking for assistance with collecting groceries, meals, medical and health needs, social isolation and delivering library books.
“The programme was incredibly effective in bringing together a wide variety of statutory and voluntary groups in County Cork to help those in need in a collaborative and targeted way,” said Mr Lucey.
“The volunteers who answered the call and stepped up were central to its success and once again shows what can be achieved when we all work together,” he added.