The Volunteer Ireland Awards is an awards program that makes a difference. It aims to shine a light on the remarkable work of volunteers around the country by celebrating them on a national level. The Volunteer Ireland Awards are a unique opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to ordinary people doing extraordinary work across the country. President Michael D. Higgins is Patron of the Awards. The 2017 Volunteer Ireland Awards took place on 1st December 2017.

Each year, people from all over Ireland are encouraged to nominate someone they know who gives their time and energy voluntarily. There are 10 categories, reflecting different facets of volunteering work:

 Animals and Environment

Arts, Culture and Media

Campaigning and Awareness Raising

Children and Youth


Health and Disability

Safety and Emergency Services

Social Work and Social Inclusion

Sports and Recreation

Outstanding Group

Read more about the Categories here

We also award a special commendation for Volunteer Manager of the Year. This can be a paid or unpaid position.

Each volunteer nominated receives a special Thank You card from Volunteer Ireland acknowledging their service. All nominations are adjudicated by a shortlisting team and a panel of judges. Entries are whittled down to 30 shortlisted nominees, who will attend a gala awards ceremony in December in Sligo. 10 overall category awardees are announced at the ceremony and one truly exceptional volunteer receives the Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year Award.  This award is named in memory of Christine Buckley, who sadly passed away in March 2014. As a co-founder of Aislinn Education and Support Centre, Christine campaigned tirelessly on behalf of victims of institutional abuse for more than 25 years. Christine was Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year in 2009 and went on to be presented with the award for ‘European Volunteer of the Year’ at the European Parliament in Strasbourg the same year.

The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the thousands of remarkable people across the country who selflessly give their time and talent to benefit others. Anyone can nominate a volunteer. The only requirement is that the nominee must be a volunteer (with the exception of the Volunteer Manager category). The Volunteer Ireland Awards are open to volunteers of all ages working with Irish volunteer involving organisations.

Find out more in our Nomination FAQ.

Read the Volunteer Ireland Awards Terms and Conditions 2017.