Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Environmental and Animal Care Awardees 2020


We are so proud to announce this years winners in the Environmental and Animal Care Category. This year we are celebrating three outstanding volunteers in each category.

Read each of their inspiring stories below.


Frank Glynn, Milltown Tidy Towns; Milltown Heritage Group; and Milltown Development Company, Galway


Frank established a Tidy Towns Group in Milltown almost 60 years ago and under his direction and hard work the group have had many successes in the National Tidy Towns Competitions. As a founding member of the Tidy Towns Group he also set up a Heritage Group in Milltown and has been involved in the establishment of a local museum, undertaking an audit of the heritage resources of the village and its hinterland, completing an award winning river walk, working in partnership with various groups including anglers, farmers, NGOs and government bodies. He was also instrumental in establishing and setting up a heritage website for Milltown (in partnership with National Museum of Ireland and Galway County Council).

For 20 years Frank Glynn was the only person in Milltown with a film camera. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s he recorded the business, social and cultural life of this Irish village. In 2020 Frank is digitising the footage and it is hoped to put on a screening to show the community his treasure trove of moving images.

Frank’s energy, drive and determination is an inspiration to all who have the pleasure to know and work with him. The above is merely a very small insight into all the voluntary work that Frank has done for nearly 60 years.

Julie Boulton, National Homechecks for Rescues Ireland, Laois


Julie is the founder and head of home check coordination for National Homechecks for Rescues Ireland. Julie will always go the extra mile to ensure that an animal is rescued and re-homed. She works tirelessly processing over 50 new cases per week from rescue groups across the state. Her work is entirely-self funded and she works full time on this.

Julie founded this organisation single-handedly after identifying a need within the animal rescue environment. Animal rescue groups each had a group of volunteers who were geographically disparate and often struggled to find suitable help outside their own locality. Julie linked these rescue organisations together, creating a single database of home checkers and a single point of contact for rescue organisations to arrange a home check.

Since founding the organisation, over 5,000 animals have been successfully re-homed. National Homechecks for Rescues Ireland have amassed a database of over 1,800 volunteers who are responsible for checking potential homes for adoption; ensuring a safe and welcome home for an often traumatised animal. They continue to help around 2,000 animals per annum.

Shay Hamilton, Athlone Tidy Towns and Athlone Canal Regeneration Group, Westmeath


Shay is the Chairman of Athlone Canal Regeneration Group. The group was set up to restore an abandoned canal from being a stagnant unused waterway to an amazing amenity that will rejuvenate the westside of Athlone.

Shay and his committee started on a small section and completely transformed it. The section now holds fish, wildfowl and some beautiful flora and fauna. The next stage and section is underway- large tracts of bankside have been planted with native flowers and there are plans to add water features that will further enhance and oxygenate the water which will result in more fish, flora and fauna.

Shay goes about his work quietly and diligently – empowering and inspiring others with his love of the town and nature. His zest and quiet demeanour are infectious, inspiring many new volunteers along the way.