Photograph of Denis Cronin

Denis Cronin

Choral Con Fusion LGBTS+ Inclusive Choir

Co. Cork

Denis Cronin has been volunteering with Choral Con Fusion LGBTS+ Inclusive Choir since it was founded 12 years ago. The choir’s purpose is not only to make music, but also to be a bridge between communities and welcome everyone equally, regardless of musical experience, sexual orientation, gender, or background.

Denis has been instrumental in creating this community and keeping it going from strength to strength. Every year he reaches more individuals who sign up to join the choir. He is a champion for inclusion, ensuring everyone involved feels respected, valued, and heard, celebrating diverse voices, and safeguarding inclusive policies.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that was heavily involved in the local community through various groups,” Denis says. “It’s this connection to the local community which is my favourite aspect of volunteering. Being a part of something which is greater than the sum of its parts.”

The choir says, “It’s truly a magical community and it’s in no small part due to the hard work put in by Denis.

“He not only serves on the committee as Treasurer, but he also arranges wonderful annual events for our members to spend a weekend away with the choir, to practice our pieces, but more importantly to connect. Massive effort goes into the planning, and Denis always makes sure it is an accessible, inclusive and joyful event.

“Denis works tirelessly for this community, and through times of crisis, his calm presence and measured approach have been invaluable to ensure we could continue doing this very important work.

“To us in Choral ConFusion, Denis is a hero – consistently showing up for each and every one of us – making this choir more than just a group of people singing together, but also a haven, a family, a community.”

Sarah Wood & Veronica Kelly

Leitrim Pride

Co. Leitrim

Sarah Wood and Veronica Kelly volunteer with Leitrim Pride.

“Our favourite thing has been the reward of seeing the wider community band together to support and celebrate Leitrim’s LGBTQI+ community, especially with our very first Pride Parade in Leitrim,” says Sarah.

Sarah was pivotal in making Leitrim’s first-ever Pride parade happen this year, coordinating with the Gardaí, County Council, and Leitrim Volunteer Centre. She took care of risk assessments and formal applications to all statutory bodies. According to Leitrim Pride, if Sarah hadn’t stepped into this role, there would have been no Pride parade. Sarah’s role was often very challenging, particularly when dealing with anti-LGBTI+ elements within the local area and online. They weren’t many, but they were a real threat.

Likewise, Veronica’s involvement made her a public target for negative feelings. Veronica organised community engagement with Tidy Towns and other local businesses and groups. She drummed up huge support for Pride throughout Leitrim.

“Sarah volunteered with a cheerfulness that belied the extremely hard work she was doing,” says Leitrim Pride. “It’s hard to describe the sense of wholeness and acceptance that comes from parading through your hometown filled with rainbow flags and cheering passers-by.”

Leitrim Pride praised Veronica for “being at the heart of many outreach and fundraising efforts, busily working in the background to create support for Pride throughout the community. She used her enthusiasm and network of contacts to fill Leitrim with rainbows. Whether it was going from business to business in Carrick asking them to hang flags out their windows or bringing rainbow flags and face-paints to agricultural shows and family festivals, she brightened up every corner of the county.”

Photograph of Stevie O'Donnell on a Tipperary street wearing a high viz bib

Stevie O’Donnell

Saint Patricks Day Festival, Light Up the Plan Community Festival, Tipperary Vintage Rally, Tipperary Chamber of Commerce, Churn Rolling Festival, Annual Tipperary Festival, Outdoor Market Festival Tipperary Town

Co. Tipperary

Stevie O’Donnell has been volunteering in Tipperary for over 30 years. He volunteers at every event he can, including Saint Patricks Day Festival, Light Up the Plan Community Festival, Tipperary Vintage Rally, Churn Rolling Festival, Annual Tipperary Festival, and the Outdoor Market Festival Tipperary Town. “I just want to help people, regardless what the situation is. That’s just me,” Stevie says.

Stevie arranges pre-event set up, stewards, assists with traffic management, coordinates road closure, assists with event de-rig, and much more! The people of Tipperary know him as someone who’ll assist any voluntary group in Tipperary Town, and would never say no to helping out.

His festival colleagues say, “Stevie turns up come rain, hail or snow. He’s first to arrive and the last to leave, and nothing is ever a problem. He’s always smiling, positive, and brings a sense of humour and community spirit to everything he’s involved in.

“When you’re running voluntary community events, you’re reliant upon people like Stevie to help. Without him, there would have been many times we would have struggled to deliver such lovely events. Stevie brings reassurance to an event and a sense of professionalism that instils confidence in his co-volunteers and creates an atmosphere of ‘can do’.

“There’s never been a time when he hasn’t volunteered his time freely, bringing creativity and a sense of humour to all situations, no matter the ask, or the terrible weather!”

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