Eithne Kiely, Sligo Social Services, Sligo

Eithne retired from her role as Volunteer Manager with Sligo Social Services Council earlier this year, after 43 years of dedicated service, supporting numerous volunteers along the way. From fundraising and thrift shop volunteers to most recently, over 200 dedicated Meals on Wheels volunteers.

What started as the coming together of like-minded people to address social issues in Sligo, grew into an organisation providing a wide range of different services including Meals on Wheels, Homeless Services, Child care and Child and Family Services, CE Schemes, Counselling, Information and Advocacy, Refugee Resettlement Programmes and our newly launched Elderly Befriending Service.

According to Faye who nominated her “Sligo Social Services Council and the community of Sligo are better places to be because of Eithne’s efforts. She truly is and was always in her role a beacon of all that is good about volunteering and the significant benefits it brings to communities. She never failed to communicate this to our volunteers through her support, encouragement and recognition of them.”


Fiona Gillespie, Cope Community Catering, Galway

Fiona’s role in the Meals service is the recruitment, management and support of the drivers who deliver Meals on wheels to older people. There are over 60 drivers currently and she knows them all personally and gets on so well with them, always has time for a chat and catch up & is always positive.

She ensures that they are happy in their role and she always has a smile on her face! On the practical side she coordinates 15 volunteers every day, Monday to Saturday to ensure that the clients (160+) have a nutritious meal and a much needed social visit to their home.


Linda Keane, Ability West, Galway

Linda’s role is best practice from recruitment, support, training, right through to recognition. She manages innovative volunteer programmes and engages a wide variety of volunteers with her main focus group, people with intellectual disabilities. For some it can be difficult to manage programmes and volunteers as well but Linda acknowledges the importance of the work with volunteers as equally important.

She meets every volunteer one-to-one and makes them feel welcome. Her kindness and organisational skills means that each volunteer has a positive experience.  In addition to her full-time work, in her spare time she supports other organisations and volunteer managers to improve their work – sharing her techniques, advice and encouragement. She engages fully with local and national policy and practices working with local volunteer centres, attending conferences and really continuously evolving to changes in the sector. She is at every recruitment fair, nominates volunteers for every award, year in year out, for over two decades.