Clare project honoured at all-Ireland community awards

Spanish Point Community Group was honoured at the all-Ireland Pride of Place awards in Killarney this week.

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The group came runner-up in the Islands & Coastal Communities category, missing out of Tullaghan Development Association in Leitrim.

The awards, hosted by RTE’s Marty Whelan, took place in Kerry’s INEC centre with 400 community volunteers in attendance.

Judges praised the work being carried out by Spanish Point.

“The judges were particularly impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the group in protecting their sensitive coastal environment and the participation of the whole community, particularly younger generations, in beach clean ups and programmes such as the “Three for the Sea” initiative.

“The group have clearly benefited from previous experience in the Pride of Place competition and have applied the learning to promote the area not just as a place to visit but in which to live and raise a family.”

Also nominated for an award was Ballyvaughan Community Development Group in the Population 0-300 category, but they were unsuccessful on the night.

Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 19 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 as we are about to start judging the 20th year of the competition. The purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational, and 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: “Co-operation Ireland has no other programme that embodies the charity’s ethos better than Pride of Place.

“We work to build relationships across the island and Pride of Place plays a critical role in that work.  The impact the awards have had in towns and villages across the island since they started in 2003 cannot be underestimated, and the continuing success of the awards is down to the dedicated volunteers and their love of where they live.

George Jones Chairman, IPB Insurance said: “The IPB Pride of Place Awards are an ideal platform to recognise the positive social impacts being made in communities across the island of Ireland. I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the communities involved for their spirit of collaboration and camaraderie in making it to the finals.

“It is also important to recognise the role of local authorities across the island of Ireland who work closely with their communities to support inspiring voluntary initiatives. These awards serve as one of the important ways that we can recognise those involved in working to make a difference in society”.

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