The winners of the 2021 Galway City Mayor’s Awards were announced at a remote ceremony held on Wednesday evening.
The awards formally recognise the outstanding contributions that local volunteers, community groups and voluntary organisations have made in supporting the residents of Galway City during the past year.
In these unprecedented times, it is even more important to acknowledge those who have volunteered on the front line during the COVID-19 crisis bringing vital supplies, support and comfort to the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Speaking on the winners and nominees at the awards, Mayor Mike Cubbard said “2020 has been a year like no other, maybe the longest year many of us have ever experienced.”
He said that the people and groups honoured in this year’s awards have shown the “leadership and kindness” which has kept Galway safe and healthy in this past year.
“In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic in particular, when people have had to focus on their own safety and the safety of their friends and family, to still have time to give to others shows a real strength of character and is something to be widely celebrated.”
While, traditionally, this ceremony has been exclusively about the fantastic work of Galway City’s volunteers, given their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the heroic effort of frontline workers over the past 12 months was also recognised.
To showcase the incredible efforts and community spirit shown in the past year, Mayor Cubbard launched the evening with the Galway City Community Spirit video.
This short video was commissioned to showcase and highlight the breath of community spirit and solidarity that was shown over the past year and continues very strongly, making a significant impact on the quality of life for all communities across Galway City.
The winners of the 2021 Galway City Mayor’s Awards are:
Arts, Culture, Heritage & Cúrsaí Gaeilge Award:
Dr Chaosheng Zhang for his beautiful photography over the past 12 months in capturing Galway at its best and for his kind and generous approach to sharing his creative talent for free with the people of Galway.
Residents & Local Areas Award:
Martina Murray for her great example, her endless amount of pride in her communtiy, in particular in keeping Renmore clean and litter-free for over 20 years. Martina leads by example, coming out to clean up no matter if it’s hail, rain or shine.
Community Service & Social Inclusion (Individual) Award:
Mary Joyce – Glynn for her enormous effort and love of wildlife over several decades with the Galway and Claddagh Swan Rescue, going above and beyond in her voluntary contributions caring for our wildlife and local community.
Community Service & Social Inclusion (Group) Award:
Galway Volunteer Centre – Community Call Shopping Volunteers for their dedication, responsiveness, willingness and making a critical difference to the city by ensuring the most vulnerable among us were provided with practical assistance, organising weekly shopping and medication to be delivered with great care, friendliness, warmth and safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Older Person Volunteer of the Year Award:
Con O’Donovan and Martin Crowley as a volunteer duo for their lifetime of consistent volunteering with numerous community groups and initiatives within the Mervue area, continuing as stalwart volunteers and supporting so many within their local community during COVID-19. They represent the strength of the older generation and kept going despite COVID-19.
Sports Volunteer of the Year Award:
Row to Recovery for their collective achievement, positive, can do attitude that takes them out of our comfort zones and helps push the boundries in a safe, supportive and empowering environment.
Children and Youth Support Award:
Galway Childline Listening Volunteer Team for their outstanding commitment to the Childline service in particular during COVID-19, giving their time to listen to our young people through the toughest of times, offering a confidential, non-directive and non-judgemental approach free, 24 hours a day, every day.
Young Volunteer of the Year Award:
Scott Moran and Hannah Moran as a volunteer duo responding to the ‘Community Call’ in a pro-active way to support and care for their elderly neighbours, reducing a sense of isolation within the local community and keeping themselves busy, with a clear sense of purposes throughout the pandemic.
Environmental Sustainability Award:
St. Patrick’s Primary School for their extraordinary contribution and commitment towards protecting and enhancing our environment through their ‘Connecting Nature with Wellbeing’ theme, building on the environmental work that has taken place in the school since 2019, emphasising and showcasing how important the garden is to our health and wellbeing.
The winners will be presented with a beautifully handcrafted wooden plaque, made by Galway woodturners Ambrose & Brid O’Halloran from Mayor Cubbard