Limerick community groups triumphed at the prestigious IPB Pride of Place community awards on Friday evening (November 10) at a gala ceremony in Armagh city.
Killeedy Community Projects took joint first place in the Village with a population between 0-500 category, with judges particularly impressed with the efforts they saw to regenerate the area.
“Significant local job loss was the spur for a group ‘to create an environment that promotes sustainable employment’. Now jobs have been created; a new community centre has emerged; and volunteerism is very much to the fore.
“This parish ticks all the boxes for a community with a palpable sense of Pride of Place to promote the economic, social and cultural aspirations of the community.”
Killeedy shared first place with Hollywood Village, County Wicklow.
Elsewhere in Limerick city Southill HUB came runner up in the Urban Neighbourhood/Village with a population under 3000 category, losing out to Larchville Lisduggan Residents Association in Waterford.
CareBright, Limerick, received a nomination but were to come away empty handed on the night.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell congratulated the winners and nominees:
“Limerick was well represented at the Pride of Place awards this year with three worthy nominations all doing the county proud. Their work is inspirational and shows what can be achieved when people come together for the good of their communities. I was delighted to see Killeedy Community Projects and Southill HUB being justifiably rewarded for their impressive initiatives to re-invigorate their areas.”
Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council, Dr Pat Daly said:
“The Pride of Place awards celebrate the transformative power that communities hold in their own hands. Killeedy Community Projects, Southill HUB and CareBright are all actively turning challenges in to opportunities and they have been rightfully recognised for their efforts. At Limerick City and County Council we continue to work closely with communities to help them embrace a spirit of pride and to assist them in achieving their aims.”
Stephane Duclot, Director Rural Community & Culture Development, Limerick City and County Council commented:
“Limerick City and County Council would like to congratulate both Killeedy Community Projects and Southill Hub in their achievements at the IPB Pride of Place Awards. Their nominations reflect very positively on their communities and they represented Limerick in an exemplary fashion. We also want to congratulate CareBright, Bruff for doing their community and Limerick very proud. All the nominees certainly took the opportunity at the awards ceremony to showcase the pride and spirit that exists in communities throughout Limerick.”
The awards, hosted by UTV’s Pamela Ballentine, took place in front of 400 community volunteers from across the island. The awards were delivered in partnership with Armagh, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 21 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, Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland, 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.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, said:
“We were delighted to host this year awards to celebrate and recognise the wonderful work voluntary people and organisations make to community life. Congratulations to all award winners, and thank you to everyone who played their part in organising this fantastic event.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said, “I am very proud after 21 glorious years of celebrating so many wonderful Pride of Place communities to be at another Gala Awards night, excellently hosted by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
“All our communities recognise the importance of their place and people and are constantly seeking to make it better. These awards are now even more important as communities face ever increasing challenges and are responding to them with energy, positivity, and commitment. The communities deserve their well-earned recognition and all participants are truly winners.”
Sir Julian King, 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 two decades ago cannot be underestimated, and the continuing success of the awards is down to the dedicated volunteers and their love of where they live."
John Hogan, Chairman, IPB Insurance said. “Volunteerism is a cornerstone of community resilience and exemplifies the very spirit of mutual support and care that these Awards have championed throughout our longstanding partnership.
“By supporting these awards, we not only celebrate the remarkable individuals and groups who go above and beyond for their communities but also aim to inspire others to join in this noble pursuit of creating better, more liveable places for all.”