Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Health & Wellbeing Shortlisted Nominees 2021


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

Read each of their inspiring stories below.

 


Ellen Leacy, Down Syndrome Limerick, Co. Limerick 

 

Ellen Leacy volunteers as Chairperson of Down Syndrome Limerick. The organisation provides supports for adults and children with Down Syndrome in the Limerick region, and Ellen has been involved for three years.  

Since having a child with Down Syndrome, Ellen joined the Down Syndrome Limerick committee and was quickly promoted to Chairperson. Described as ‘a steady hand steering the charity,’ Ellen is credited with the ongoing growth, strengthening and modernisation of the organisation. 

Ellen’s dedication has seen her engaged in many successful fundraisers while reaching out and raising awareness of the organisation in the community through advocacy. She is committed to ensuring that all members of the Down Syndrome Limerick community are included and valued, and continuously strives to develop the organisation. 

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Ellen ensured that community members, volunteers and staff were consistently engaged while seamlessly pivoting many of the organisation’s services to online offerings.  

Ellen’s enthusiasm and belief in the mission and aims of Down Syndrome Limerick have made her an invaluable committee member and volunteer who prioritises and recognises the needs of community members.

 


Noreen O’Flaherty, Recovery Haven Cancer Support House, Co. Kerry 

Noreen O’Flaherty has been volunteering with Recovery Haven – Cancer Support House, Co. Kerry for over 10 years, and was of the first volunteers to join the organisation when it opened in 2011. As well as being a key member of the Gardening Group, she is also a volunteer listener and programme facilitator.

During her time in the garden, she joins her fellow volunteers in maintaining the space as a focal point of Recovery Haven, where clients can spend time as they navigate their difficult cancer journey. Noreen’s participation in the listening service provides a vital service to the organisation, as she offers comfort, support and information on the services provided by Recovery Haven.

In addition to this, she is a programme facilitator of the ‘Thrive and Survive’ programme, undertaking training and subsequently delivering 10 six-week programmes. Her education and outreach goals were furthered once more when she undertook training to deliver the ‘Building Better Caregivers’ programme in 2020, aiming to support those caring for a loved one with cancer. Noreen also plays a key role in Recovery Haven’s fundraising events while supporting the day-to-day running of the organisation.  

In a recent press interview to mark Recovery Haven Kerry’s 10 anniversary, she said that she feels honoured to volunteer at the charity. Having battled cancer herself in 2001, the nominee says she wants to do everything in her power to help. 

“When I see someone come through the door for the first time, I see myself. The amazing support offered by Recovery Haven is something I didn’t have.  It is a privilege to be able to listen and I get as much from it, in terms of my own wellbeing, as the people who share this wonderful space with us. Through Recovery Haven, I am celebrating my own survival,” Noreen said.  

 


Marian Kierans, Healthy Ireland – Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda & LMETB, Drogheda, Co. Louth 

 

Marian Kierans is a volunteer with the Healthy Ireland programme in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, and Louth and Meath Education and Training Board’s (LMETB) National Adult Literacy programme.  

He dedication to these organisations sees her make an incredible impact on her community. Marian first engaged with the Healthy Ireland programme at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital three years ago when she provided meet and greet services to hospital visitors. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Marian never missed a volunteer shift and assisted people in navigating the hospital and attending appointments, using her storytelling skills and humour to put visitors at ease.

In her volunteer role with LMETB, Marian assists people learning English as a second language and provides literacy tutoring for those wishing to improve their reading and writing skills.  She strives to make lessons fun and interactive and learners regularly praise her for her dedication to engagement and accessibility. 

Marian’s volunteering experiences have a consistently positive impact on the community. Despite the challenges posed by the past year, she is continuously seeking new ways to reach out and support her locality.