Clare Youth Action was awarded a major prize at the All-Ireland Pride of Place awards on Saturday evening.
The awards, hosted by Marty Morrissey, took place online due to the Covid pandemic with 6,000 people logging in from across Ireland to see community groups pick up gongs.
Clare Youth Action was praised by judges who said; “This fantastic youth led project demonstrated the power of young people coming up with an idea and presenting it to the right agency for support. A top class presentation and wonderful testimonials by exceptional young adults absolutely convinced the judges of the value of this great project.”
Elsewhere, Labasheeda Le Chéile came runners up in the category for areas with a population under 300. Broadford Community Action Group were nominated but missed out on a prize.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.
It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland.
President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland with Queen Elizabeth, said the awards played an important role.
“The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said; “These Awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”
Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: “Pride of Place deserves its position as one of the most prestigious community awards on the island of Ireland and Co-operation Ireland is delighted that it continues to go from strength to strength.”
Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “I would like to congratulate Clare Youth Action on their fantastic achievement. This award is a reflection of the contribution to society made by the young people involved. I am delighted to see these young people getting the recognition they deserve. It is an inspiration for the community to see young people working together and excelling during such challenging times.
“I would also like to acknowledge Labasheeda Le Chéile, who were runners-up in their category, and Broadford Community Action Group, who were also nominated. Well done to all involved.”
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council said: “This outstanding achievement by Clare Youth Action is another example of the vital role young people have played in the community during Covid-19. I’m delighted to see this extraordinary effort being acknowledged at a national level. Many congratulations to all involved.”
Mr Dowling also extended his congratulations to the other Clare groups represented at the awards, Labasheeda Le Chéile and Broadford Community Action Group.
John Treacy, Pride of Place Coordinator in Clare, said: “I would like to heartily congratulate all three community projects that represented County Clare in the 2020 IPB Pride of Place Awards. My job was made very easy by the incredible people who volunteer their time so generously for the betterment of their communities and place. Broadford Community Action Group did their locality proud with a very strong interactive presentation to the judges. Labasheeda Le Chéile also presented an excellent record of their works to date and deservedly placed as runners-up in their very competitive category.
Clare Youth Action won their category outright, a testament to their remarkable youth-led activation and taking a leadership role across a wide range of issues of national and international importance. My colleagues in the Rural Development Directorate of Clare County Council and I are very proud of the achievements of all three groups and also the strength of the wider community and voluntary sector in County Clare. We look forward to continuing to support the sector in 2021. Comhghairdeas lenár ngrúpaí.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman, Tom Dowling, said: “These awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”