PPN award recipients do amazing work in their local communities
Louth PPN Community & Voluntary Awards
Older Persons and Disability - Ann Short, Drogheda Branch, Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
Ann does fantastic work for people with Alzheimer's to make their life and the lives of their families easier. Having personal experience of how Alzheimer's can affect a family, she has been involved with the society for over 20 years, leading by example, and always to the forefront when there is fund-raising to be done. She is campaigning for the provision of a new, purpose-built day care centre to serve Drogheda and the surrounding area, which will replace the temporary premises at Laurence Gate and at the Donore Road Centre. With an estimated cost of up to one million euro involved, Ann has led the fund-raising campaign which has so far brought in over €650,000.
Mattock Rangers Active Retirement
Mattock Rangers Active Retirement Committee was founded in the village of Collon by the late Michael Power, who felt that elderly and vulnerable people should have some form of communication, friendship and social activity. The group's main objective is to provide members with the chance to meet up and socialise, get information about various activities within Collon area, avail of various bus trips, shopping trips and going out for meals.
The group has been in operation since 2013 and has gone from strength to strength, becoming a vital asset within the community. With a membership of almost 40, the group has become a lifeline for members where they can discuss any problems or concerns they may have.
Environment & Animals
Raymond Hunt of Omeath District Development CLG uses his artistic talents to assist a number of groups in the community. He has been involved in the Táin March event in Omeath since 2015, creating artworks for the event using recycled materials. He has also painted a wildlife mural in the Omeath Play Park and created an Eco Biodiversity Garden in the Dolmen Centre using recycled materials, which is enjoyed by all those using the centre. Raymond's murals have had a positive visual impact the village, helping to address anti-social issues in a neglected area. Raymond has engaged young people within the community and has promoted the environmental protection of habitat and wildlife as well as recycling.
Michael Rogan, Grange, Carlingford, transformed a derelict, dry pond at Grange into a very attractive fishing amenity for locals and visitors to the Cooley Peninsula. He has motivated other members of the local community to get involved in the project, resulting in the erection of a viewing gallery at the pond where local children regularly meet to feed the ducks and view the wildlife that have now made the pond their home. The pond is stocked with fish and wildlife resulting in a fishing club being set up. The local community has greatly benefited from this project and Michael's dedication and motivational skills is to be applauded and recognised as the driving force behind the project.
Fetaoi (Fu) Faapito
Fu Fa'apito founded The Ravens Basektball Club, Dundalk 12 years ago. The club hosts teams from U12 to U18 for both boys and girls. Fu dedicates his time to the Ravens and spends evenings and weekends coaching and travelling to games with all the teams. His excellent coaching skills and his passion and enthusiasm for sports and working with children is evident in every training session and the club has enjoyed great success at national level. He teaches them, by example, to not just be better basketball players but to be better people, more humble, more accepting and kinder, building a confidence in them that will stay with them through like. He describes the club as being like a family, where lifelong friendships are formed.
Louth School Girls League
Louth Schoolgirls League has provided the opportunity for 250 girls aged between 5 and 11 years of age to participate in a soccer league for the first time ever within their own community in County Louth. This pilot league has been facilitated by Louth Sports Unit in conjunction with the WFAI and 10 local soccer clubs in Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee. It's hope to replicate the league throughout Leinster and Ireland and to incorporate all age groups to provide the opportunity for all girls to participate in a National School Girls Soccer League. Rachel Gaughran of the parents committee said that it gives girls the chance to 'grow in confidence and enjoy cameraidre'.
Children & Youth
The Lannleire Pavilion is Dunleer's Community Centre and main indoor sports and recreation facility, with Joe torris explaining that it offers a wide range of activities for everyone to participate in sports, social or recreation activities to help promote a healthier lifestyle.
The centre hosts a fully equipped gymnasium. With excellent WiFi facilities there is always a space for the children and youth within the community to hang out.
The Parent and Toddler group offers a valuable outlet for parents to social with other young families allowing lifelong friendships to be formed.
Dee Hub / New Leaf project
The DeeHub / New Leaf project has been in operation for 18 months and is run from the Dee Hub Community Centre in Ardee.
Damien McKenna outlined how it provides a range of services for young people to help combat anti-social behaviour, get them back into education and provide training and social interventions.
The project has engaged hundreds of young people and delivers youth club evenings, training and one to one supports.
The project has had a huge impact on Mid Louth where there were no youth services in operation.
Arts & Culture
Scale Force is a music group which was founded in Dundalk in 2015. It is a voluntary music group consisting of over 30 older people/adults including some with disabilities. It has made significant contributions to its local community through its many voluntary and free of charge music performances of traditional Irish music and song. Olive Murphy said it was so rewarding for them to go into places like nursing homes to perform for the residents. They have also performed at Music at the Gate in Drogheda and on the Gig Rig during the Fleadh. The group have raised fund sfor local charities including SOSAD, Dundalk Soup Kitchen and the Lourdes Fund Raiser for Intellectual Disabilities.
Orla Brannigan, has been a member of Drogheda Comhaltas for all her life and has assisted down through the years with all their activities She worked tirelessly to get other young people involved and to share her love of the Irish Culture and teaches Irish dancing, tin whistle and flute to the younger members Orla now spends up to 5 nights per week teaching music and dancing to young children and teenagers.
Her work with Drogheda Comhaltas, which is all voluntary, has been recognised by the National Comhaltas Organisation, where she was appointed Comhaltas National Youth Officer for 4 years (a voluntary capacity position). She was part of the Fleadh Committee in Drogheda, which brought Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann the town in 2018 and 2019.
Imam Nooh Buye
Imam Nooh Buye, is the leader of the Dundalk Muslim Group, which provides an excellent service to the Muslim Community in Dundalk, working to help their members integrate and settle in the community. They have established on-going relationships with local education providers, Community Gardai, the local community and voluntary sector, other religious denominations, state agencies and cross border groups. The Group are in the process of relocating to their new premises at Marshes Upper, Dundalk. Currently Friday Prayer is celebrated from these premises and the female members avail of craftwork courses here too. .
Lucht Siuil Oga
Lucht Siúil Óga, a group for young Travellers in Dundalk, was set up in 2016 and has grown from strength to strength. It is a Traveller lead youth club providing a wide range of services and activities for young people including include arts & crafts and team building. The establishment of a successful teenage group has allowed the young people have their voices heard through networking with Louth Comhairle na nÓg and NYCI Youth Voices. It now includes a group for 8-10 year olds and a Young Women's Group. Lucht Siúil Óga has made a huge difference by having a positive impact on their community. A safe place has been established for young travellers to share their experiences and build on promoting positive role models in their community while promoting equality and integration among the young people.
Voluntary Team of the Year
St Patrick's Soup Kitchen
St Patrick's Soup Kitchen, was founded in Dundalk, over 20 years by the Adm, Fr Gerry Tremer after the death of a homeless person, recalled Rose Bailey. It is open every night from 7pm to 8pm and on Sundays from 4pm to 5pm. Almost 3 years ago it was decided to operate a food parcel service as it was felt there were people in need who for one reason or another did not feel comfortable attending the Soup Kitchen. So every Friday from 10.30am to 11.30am there is no less than 120 food parcels distributed to people in need. All the work is done voluntarily and the group has to depend on fund-raising and the generosity of the people of Dundalk so that they can continued their work.
Drogheda District Support Care and Repair
Drogheda and District Support Care and Repair Team, was set up 2011. Oliver O'Connor explained how they help older people with small jobs and general maintenance such as gardening, fitting hand rails, painting, carpentry, recycling, cleaning gutters, fitting smoke detectors and changing light bulbs. In the last 18 months the team have conducted 350 jobs for 197 individuals. The team keep an eye out for the elderly people they work with and let them know about other services such as the The Befriending and the "Good Morning Call" services . Outstanding Individual Achievement
Deirdre Kenny, is a volunteer with the Family Addiction Support Network (FASN), a voluntary organisation based in Lios Dubh, Dundalk, delivering vital services to families. She spoke of the need for families to look after themselves and to seek out support, while acknowledging that the first call is the hardest to make. Deirdre is a driving force in the organisation, organising everything from bag packs to pop-up-shops to raise much needed funds. Her heartfelt contribution to organising the Service of Commemoration for family members who have had a loved one die through substance misuse has brought comfort, acknowledgement and support to families in their grief.
Susan Donegan, from Togher, has worked tirelessly to provide a much needed service for young people in mid-Louth area, so that they would have what she described as 'a safe and secure environment'.
Her energy, drive and focus has resulted in a collaborative programme between Dunleer and Ardee with the launch of workshops, interactive spaces, tutorials and support services tailored to the youth of the Mid-Louth area. Susan organised a World Café event last October to bring youth and support services together to talk and listen. This was the seed for a Youth Initiative for Dunleer and surrounding area, which saw funding being secured for the provision of a youth centre with professional support personnel.