Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Children & Youth Shortlisted Nominees 2021


We are so proud to announce this year’s shortlisted nominees for the Children & Youth Category. This year we are celebrating three outstanding volunteers in each category.

Read each of their inspiring stories below.

 


Angela Locke-Reilly, AIRC Mayo and Midlands, Co. Westmeath 

Angela Locke-Reilly is a volunteer with Airc Midlands and Airc Mayo, an organization which supports children with disabilities. Angela co-founded the organization in Westport with a group of parents who recognized the need for specific supports in the area. When she subsequently moved to Athlone, she identified the same needs in the region and set about establishing Airc Midlands.

Angela is committed to advocating for children and families who require additional support, and she plays a key role in Airc’s fundraising and development. As Airc looks to fundraise to build a centre, Angela volunteers her time to raise awareness and funds to meet this goal. Described as ‘wonder woman’ by her fellow volunteers, she has developed multiple engagement and outreach programmes, such as sports groups and camps. Airc continued to provide support throughout the pandemic as Angela created themed seasonal boxes, filled with fun activities to complete at home. Angela recognizes the importance of a listening ear and takes time to listen and offer advise to parents.

 


Nigel Heneghan, Community Creations, Co. Dublin 

Nigel Heneghan is a member of the Board of Directors at Community Creations, which oversees SpunOut.ie and 50808. The organisation aims to create an Ireland where young people aged are empowered with the information they need to live active, happy, and healthy lives. 

Since joining the Board in 2017, Nigel has provided stewardship and leadership which has been invaluable to the experiences of volunteers, staff and people engaged with the organisation’s services. Nigel is described by his fellow voluntary board members as ‘consistently active and insightful,’ and always willing to give his time and expertise to new projects.   

Nigel’s dedication to this voluntary role is most evident in his engagement with the

Ant-Racism Working Group, the fundraising sub-committee and the establishment of the 50808 service, a free 24/7 text support service. To date, over 2.5 million messages have been exchanged on 50808 with 40,000 people in a moment of crisis. This support would not be available in its current form without his steadfast belief in, and careful stewardship of, the project. 

Nigel has contributed a significant amount towards securing the long-term sustainability of the organisation and the expansion of core services. He is motivated by an abiding passion for the work Community Creations does and for its guiding principles as an organisation.  


Mary Browne, Children’s Grief Centre, Limerick 

 

Mary Browne has been a volunteer support worker at the Children’s Grief Centre, Limerick for ten years.  At the Centre, she spends time on a one-to-one basis with children and young people aged 4-18 who have been affected by loss through bereavement, separation or divorce. Mary employs unique methods in her interactions with children, using play, painting and workbooks to ensure that children communicate in a way that feels comfortable. 

Parents and guardians recognize the impact of Mary’s work, and often speak of the difference she makes in the lives of children experiencing loss, noting that they are coping better with their pain.  Mary makes a 100 kilometer return trip to the Children’s Grief Centre from her home every week, indicative of her dedication to her volunteer role.