Ladies Gaelic Football Stars Orla Murphy and Kate Byrne have today kicked off the 2019 Volunteer Ireland Awards campaign. From now until 4th October, we are calling on the people of County Sligo to nominate a volunteer they feel is deserving of a national Volunteer Ireland Award. One outstanding nominee will be named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year at a special ceremony in December.

According to Sligo Volunteer Centre Manager, Ciara Herity “Volunteers are the lifeblood of Irish society and we are proud to have a strong culture of volunteering in Sligo. Without them, many of the things we take for granted simply wouldn’t exist. It’s hard to think of an area that doesn’t benefit from volunteers – from healthcare to sport, supporting vulnerable people or protecting our environment, volunteers are the biggest heroes we have. But they are unsung heroes, and with these awards we want to shine a light on the amazing people who give so much to Sligo without any expectation of thanks or glory.”

One particularly special aspect of the awards is that every person nominated – whether they are shortlisted or not – will receive a special ‘thank you’ card from Volunteer Ireland to show our appreciation for their dedication and commitment. Aside from Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year, volunteers will be recognised in ten other categories across areas such as children and youth, culture and emergency services.

“About half of volunteering in Ireland takes place in sport with so many grassroots clubs and events reliant on the support of volunteers in their communities. We are delighted that Orla and Kate were on hand to launch this year’s awards. Now we need the public’s help to nominate the ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities.”

LGFA President Marie Hickey commented: “As an Association, we are acutely aware of the importance of volunteers in sport. Volunteers devote time and energy, and show exceptional dedication to their role, for the betterment of Ladies Gaelic Football, and in various sports.

“The Volunteer Ireland Awards are a magnificent way to acknowledge the unsung heroes in sport, the volunteers who give so selflessly of their time. We have acknowledged our own volunteers in recent times across a wide range of categories, and I’m sure that there will be a huge amount of applications flooding in for the National Volunteer awards. I would like to wish all of the nominees well across the ten categories.”

The nominations will be whittled down to a shortlist of 30 outstanding volunteers who will be invited with their family and friends to an awards ceremony in Dublin in December where they will be honoured and celebrated. Nominations can be made online here.

About the Volunteer Ireland Awards

Anyone can nominate a volunteer, and the ten categories are:

• Animals and Environment

• Arts, Culture and Media

• Campaigning and Awareness Raising

• Children and Youth

• Community

• Safety and Emergency Services

• Health and Disability

• Social Work and Social Inclusion

• Sports and Recreation

• Outstanding Group

There is also a special commendation for Volunteer Manager of the Year which can be a paid or voluntary position. All shortlisted applicants are automatically eligible for the overall Volunteer of the Year Award. Nominations close at midnight on Friday 4th October and can be made online at The Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year Award along with the ten category winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on Friday 6th December in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin. All shortlisted nominees along with their guests will be invited to the ceremony to enjoy a much-deserved night of celebration.