2012 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Sports and Recreation

Paul McCormack, St. John Bosco GAC

Newry, Co. Down

Paul is the catalyst for St. John Bosco GAC’s community integration and social growth and has played a central role in bringing national recognition and success for the club. He has applied his wealth of international business experience and skills to improve communications externally and internally, producing monthly newsletters, weekly updates and annual yearbooks. His publications are a tapestry of news, wit, culture, Irish language and history, complete with a section celebrating those who have contributed to the success of the club over the years.

Paul McCormack's official title may be Public Relations Officer but in reality he is much much more for St John Bosco GAC. Paul developed links with Queens University Belfast to carry out research into player drop out post 16 years old and examining rural/urban differences in player drift, Paul has helped ensure young players stay engaged in sport.

Paul's work builds internal cohesion and continually champions the club’s greatest asset – their players and youth. Under Paul's stewardship the club has introduced several initiatives including the ‘No Player Left Behind, ‘Player Protection’ and ‘Community Inclusion’ programmes. These initiatives include comprehensive cardiac screening, extensive after school football training, language clubs, cultural events, teenage traditional music sessions and underage club nights, providing opportunities for members and players of all skills and abilities and welcoming all sections of the community to become involved.

Paul has been instrumental in developing extensive schools initiatives, community programmes, an older citizens social initiative, language clubs, heritage projects and St John Bosco Gaels football team for young adults with special needs – just some of the projects he has championed.

Aidan Shields nominated Paul for a Volunteer Ireland Award, Paul said “Without doubt Paul is our strategic compass planning for the future and strategic development and harnessing the collective input from all members to build this, our combined future. As a volunteer Paul's work cannot be measured in simple monetary values he has helped the club amass a vast social wealth - a rock for future sustainability. The input of Paul McCormack can best be summed up by a statement from another club member, when asked to do something he replied 'you just don't say no to McCormack!' Paul McCormack is without doubt a great mentor, a fine clubman, a leading volunteer and one whose work will be enjoyed by many generations yet to come.”

Photograph by Jacqueline Galway