Featured News
View our Vocations Brochure
Home / News / The gift of volunteering
'The gift of many hands....hold many hearts'.

The gift of volunteering

It is that wonderful time of year again.  The time when we harvest the fruits of our labour and give thanks.  It is therefore a fitting time for us to be reminded of the gift of volunteering through the recognition given by the Volunteer Ireland Awards for 2019.

Each year, people from all over Ireland are encouraged to nominate the volunteers they know for a  Volunteer Ireland Award.

The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the thousands of remarkable people across the country who selflessly give their time and talent to benefit others. Anyone can nominate a volunteer. The only requirement is that they give their time voluntarily, without pay (with the exception of the Volunteer Manager category). The Volunteer Ireland Awards are open to people of all ages volunteering with Irish volunteer involving organisations.

We are delighted to hear and share the wonderful news that Sr. Gertrude Howley has been selected (under the Health and Disability Shortlist Category) for consideration as one of the 33 shortlisted nominees for an award.  Congratulations Gertrude to you and to all of those you work alongside.

Sr. Gertrude and her work 

Sr. Gertrude Howley, pbvm

As a Presentation Sister for over 30 years, Gertrude has always been passionate about helping the local community. Coming into contact with people suffering in the community, she felt she needed to do more. She then decided to start a GROW group in Dungarvan and at the same time began her training to become a counsellor, where she continues to provide no cost/low cost counselling to people.

Gert is the Regional Chairperson, served on the National Board and Program Team of  GROW Ireland and was instrumental in securing a permanent premises in Kilkenny.  She has run hundreds of community outreach and fundraising projects. Over the past 35 years she has developed and provides community adult education in the form of 10 week and 4 week courses. She also founded the “Little Lantern” Counselling and personal development centre with the help of her community (presentation sisters). She also runs meditation groups, prayer group, brings senior citizens together for prayer, tea and chat.

Gert is also an excellent fundraiser for GROW.  Her very first fundraiser was a cycle from Dungarvan to Tipperary Town which she called “Its a long way to Tipperary,” she participated herself (on a motor scooter) and personally raised over £2000 Irish Punts. In the course of a week she would see approx 25 individual clients for counselling, have at least 20 people in the weekly GROW groups and teach at least 25 people meditation and mindfulness.  Gert’s idea of relaxation is to teach horse riding (on a voluntary basis) to children once a week!

(Text courtesy of Volunteer Ireland Website link  See https://www.volunteer.ie/events/vi-awards/health-disability-2019/  ).

So what happens next?

All nominations received are adjudicated by a shortlisting team and a panel of judges. Entries are whittled down to 33 shortlisted nominees, who will attend a gala awards ceremony in December in Dublin. 11 category awardees are announced at the ceremony and one truly exceptional volunteer is named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year.

The ten longest serving volunteers from the shortlisted nominees of the Volunteer Ireland Awards will be eligible to be selected for the Community Hero Award. The public can vote for their favourite Community Hero Award nominees online. The recipient of the Community Hero Award will be announced at the Charity Impact Awards in December.

We were delighted in 2017 to celebrate the receipt of the Volunteer of the Year Award by Sr. Patricia Wall, pbvm who has dedicated her life to volunteering and community work within the area of Slieveardagh, (South Tipperary).

Category Winners & Volunteer of The Year announced in December

Volunteers can be nominated for an award in 1 of 11 categories. These categories reflect different facets of volunteering work. The focus of the organisation that the nominee volunteers with determines the category they should be nominated in. The categories are:

  • Animals and Environment
  • Arts, Culture and Media
  • Campaigning and Awareness Raising
  • Children and Youth
  • Community
  • Safety and Emergency Services
  • Health & Disability
  • Social Work & Social Inclusion
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Outstanding Group Award
  • Outstanding Volunteer Manager

We congratulate and thank all of the shortlisted nominees for the 2019 Volunteer Ireland Awards for the commitment, inspiration and support that they provide to individuals and communities around the country day in and day out.

You help make the world a better place.   Our very best wishes to all nominees.


Note: we will keep you posted on the online nomination process for the Charity Hero Award.

For further information about Nano Nagle – see  HERE 

Also see:  A light for our steps – about the work of Sr. Gertrude Howley and GROW Ireland


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


View our Vocations Brochure