Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Social Inclusion & Community Shortlisted Nominees 2021


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

Read each of their inspiring stories below.


Magdalena Lisiak, Tipperary Gold Star Initiative, Co. Tipperary 

 

Magdalena Lisiak is a volunteer peer educator with the Tipperary Gold Star Initiative and has been engaged with the project for over ten years. Magdalena lives with Stargardt disease, which is an inherited disorder of the retina. She lost the majority of her sight at 16 years old, and her life experience has led her volunteer experience. Magdalena is motivated by engaging people and raising disability awareness. Her volunteer role with the Tipperary Gold Star Initiative involves working with young people and recognising their role as future community leaders.  

She has recently become involved with the Inside Out project, in which she shared her story with thirty female prisoners in Limerick Prison. The project was borne of a growing concern regarding the impact of crime on people with disabilities, and Magdalena willingly shared her experiences of navigating public spaces using a white cane. Her input has been instrumental to the success of this project.  

Magdalena has crafted a way of engaging people of all ages and all abilities and she plays a key role in the success of the programmes she is involved with.  

 


Phillip Gaffney, Naul Community Council, Co. Dublin

 

Phillip Gaffney is from Co. Meath and volunteers with a number of organisations within his community. As the Chairperson of Naul Community Council in Co. Dublin,  he has played a major role in community development and has been involved with the organisation since its initial establishment in 2000. His passion for his community is evident in each volunteer role he has held.

As Treasurer on the Board of Management for Naul National School, he promoted pride of place when he designed a school uniform emblem depicting a local monument, which is still worn to this day. Similarly, his impact on his local Clann Mhuire GAA Club has been long-standing as he played a role in the club securing €2 million in funding that benefits the community of Naul and Fingal through the development of state-of-the-art facilities.   

Phillip’s engagement with the Naul Community Groups, Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre from its inception, Fingal County Council and many other community-focused initiatives is testament to his dedication to volunteering. His generosity of spirit came to the fore at the beginning of the pandemic when he used his skills as a master craftsman to create a fairy trail throughout the locality.   

Phillip strives to encourage greater civic participation in Naul while fostering a strengthened sense of community and collaboration. 

 

 


Joe Cribbin, Ballyleague Mens Shed, Ballyleague & Cloontuskert Tidy Towns, Co. Roscommon 

 

Joe Cribbin from Co. Roscommon has been a volunteer with Ballyleague Men’s Shed, Ballyleague Tidy Towns and Cloontuskert Tidy Towns for over ten years. Joe’s love of his locality sees him commit countless hours to these organisations, always striving to support his community.

Through his engagement with Tidy Towns, he has created a Community Orchard from a previous wasteground site, constructed a Community Composting area, created an Outdoor Classroom, and led the development of a Heritage Sculpture and Pollinator Garden. All of these efforts have provided highly-valued and much loved local amenities.
Joe’s involvement with the Ballyleague Men’s Shed has steered the organisation in having a remarkable impact on the community. From rethatching and breathing life into a derelict pub, securing ‘Best Presented Street’ award in Ballyleague from Roscommon County Council and currently working to create a local Repair Café, Joe’s impact is wide-reaching. The Shed’s interest in pollinator-friendly flowers and gardening keeps the locality bursting with colour and ensures pride of place for all in the community.

Joe’s willingness to collaborate and engage with fellow volunteers while meeting local needs has had an invaluable impact on Ballyleague and Cloontuskert, with his impact being described as ‘the central cog in the wheel of the locality.’