2013 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Sports and Recreation

Valerie Haugh, North Star Swimming Club For People with Disabilities

Leixlip, Co. Kildare

Valerie Haugh volunteers as Club Secretary and Fundraiser for North Star Swimming Club for People with Disabilities. The club is unique in Ireland in that it offers swimming to people, mostly children, every Sunday of the school term.  It is run entirely by volunteers, who support the children or adults to help them become swimmers.  Valerie contacts the volunteers every week, organises all of the fundraising, arranges meetings, parties, and also helps in the water. She is also a volunteer with Gluais and the Arch club (for adults with a learning disability).  Valerie has volunteered at The Arch Club on Wednesday nights, since 1999, and North Star Swimming Club on Sundays, again assisting people with special needs, since 2001.

Valerie’s official title is Secretary but she works ceaselessly in fund raising for the Club. North Star is a completely voluntary and is funded completely by their own fund-raising efforts. She has also been involved in the Gluais youth training leadership programme, since 2004. Elaine Gillan nominated Valerie for a Volunteer Ireland Award, she said “Valerie is an amazing young woman. She makes a difference in that she shoulders so much responsibility and keeps the club going.  She is forever trying to get help for the club.”