This week Clean Coasts will recognise the work of some outstanding volunteer groups across Ireland by highlighting outstanding groups and individuals with Ocean Hero Recognition Awards.
The Clean Coasts programme is Ireland’s foremost community-based coastal education programme, which counts on the work of over 1,200 volunteer groups nationwide. Every year, Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts’ Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006, consisting then of only one category, ‘The Clean Coasts’ Group of the Year’. Since then the Clean Coasts’ programme has grown to engage over 1,200 Clean Coasts groups and celebrate many Ocean Heroes nationwide.
It has been an unusual year and, like everyone, Clean Coasts and their volunteers have had to adapt to the situation. The continued support, engagement and interest from the many Clean Coasts volunteers around the country has been outstanding, showing dedication and resilience through these testing times. Clean Coasts understand that it was not possible for everybody to take part in activities and that for some it was incredibly frustrating not being able to get out to those places that they love and normally care for. However, there is great value in sharing examples of the creative solutions that groups have come up with to inspire us all looking ahead to the new year.
Many Clean Coast volunteers around the country made a great effort to carry out beach cleans while following government guidelines and restrictions, for example dividing stretches of coastline to be cleaned, setting up online event registration to ensure numbers were capped and putting extra measures in place for sanitisation of equipment.
In a nod to the Ocean Hero Awards which Clean Coasts, the work of these dedicated groups and individuals will be highlighted in a week of online celebrations, from 14th – 20th December sharing their stories, achievements and advice for how other groups can get back on track in 2021.
‘At a time when we usually celebrate our Ocean Hero Awards, we want to take a moment to recognise those groups and individuals who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to protect our coast this year and to celebrate our long-standing volunteers. ’ Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager.
In Co. Clare, Spanish Point Community Group will be recognised under the Long Term Commitment category while new group Seawaves will be recognised under the ‘Oustanding Newcomer’ category.
Mary Cleary from Spanish point Community Group says ‘I live in Spanish Point and I consider it a natural treasure. I think that by removing marine litter I’m contributing to keeping marine life and the whole environment safe. Moreover, many people in my local community depend on coastal tourism, so the cleaner our beaches, them more people will be attracted to our area. Finally volunteering in a Clean Coasts group is great for my own wellbeing: I’m out in the fresh air, I exercise and I meet new people and there is always a cead mile failte for everybody who wants to join us’.
This year volunteers will be recognised under the following categories:
Longterm Commitment: (Acknowledging our long-standing groups.)
- Spanish Point Community Group, Co. Clare
Outstanding Newcomers: (Welcome recognition to newcomers that have adapted well.)
- Seawaves, Co. Clare