Awards recognise people’s hard work in community

By Mary Dennehy

WITH only a few days left to nominate for this year’s Tallaght Person of the Year awards, the positive effect recognition can have on volunteers and community groups has been highlighted.

Last year’s winner of the Special Needs and Carers Award was Sensory Fun with Friends, a parent-led group that provides a diverse range of fun activities for all children with additional needs.

Sensory Fun TPOTY 2018 compressor

Members of ‘Sensory Fun with Friends’ – Trisha Williams, Fran Kane, Leoin McCarney, Joan Lynch, Lynn Byrne and Eileen Birchall at last year’s Tallaght Person of the Year Awards

The group was established in 2016 by Tallaght parents in response to a lack of community-based, fun activities that children with additional needs and their siblings could do together.

Lynn Byrne, who lives in Killinarden, is one of the co-founders.

Speaking with The Echo, Lynn highlighted how people and groups volunteering within the community don’t do it for the recognition or applause.

However, she does believe that recognising people’s hard work has a positive effect on volunteers, raises awareness and encourages other to get involved.

“We were extremely honoured to be presented with such a prestigious award last year,” Lynn said.

“To receive that recognition from the Tallaght community was amazing.

“We set up Sensory Fun with Friends because of a lack of services and activities in Tallaght South West for all children with additional needs

. . . and their siblings are included. “It brings families unity.”

She added: “Without the recognition and support from local businesses, the community and South Dublin County Council, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“The group is thriving and we are so excited going into 2020.

“The people of Tallaght really get together and help one another and it’s nice for people on the side-lines to be recognised.

“Nominating someone [for a Tallaght Person of the Year award] is great recognition that they are doing something positive for their community and for their children and all of the children that are growing up in the community.

“It really has a positive effect.”

Run by Tallaght Community Council (TCC), the awards, which are in their 37th year, will take to the stage of the Red Cow Moran Hotel on Saturday, November 16.

The nomination process will close on Monday, October 28 – with people encouraged to ‘appreciate, recognise, nominate’ their unsung hero under nine categories.

People can nominate under Arts and Culture, Business, Sgt Andrew Callanan Community, Heart of Gold, Michael Dooley Environment, Special Needs and Carers, Philip Preston Sports Award, the Maurice McConnell Youth Award and the Learning and Innovation Award, run in partnership with TU Dublin – Tallaght Campus.

For further details and to nominate online visit www.tallaghtpersonawards.ie.

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