Irish Network Stevenage volunteers win national community award

PUBLISHED: 09:55 23 June 2018

Sean Kennedy from Morelands Investments Ltd with Irish Network Stevenage trustee Bill Pilgrim, trustee Brendan Clynch, chairman Luke Donovan, volunteer Patsy Reilly, trustee Hilda Warwick and volunteer Margaret Rice. Picture: Lucia Butler / Irish in Britain

Sean Kennedy from Morelands Investments Ltd with Irish Network Stevenage trustee Bill Pilgrim, trustee Brendan Clynch, chairman Luke Donovan, volunteer Patsy Reilly, trustee Hilda Warwick and volunteer Margaret Rice. Picture: Lucia Butler / Irish in Britain

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Volunteers from a charity in Stevenage’s Irish community have been recognised with a national award.

Irish ambassador Adrian O'Neill, at the back, with Irish Network Stevenage volunteer Patsy Reilly, trustee Brendan Clynch, trustee Bill Pilgrim, chairman Luke Donovan, project co-ordinator Elaine Connolly, volunteer Margaret Rice and trustee Hilda Warwick. Picture: Lucia Butler / Irish in BritainIrish ambassador Adrian O'Neill, at the back, with Irish Network Stevenage volunteer Patsy Reilly, trustee Brendan Clynch, trustee Bill Pilgrim, chairman Luke Donovan, project co-ordinator Elaine Connolly, volunteer Margaret Rice and trustee Hilda Warwick. Picture: Lucia Butler / Irish in Britain

The Irish Network Stevenage team won the volunteer group category in the first annual awards for outstanding volunteers run by the national community charity Irish in Britain.

The Irish ambassador Adrian O’Neill hosted the award ceremony at the Embassy of Ireland in London, and happily posed with the award winners.

Irish Network Stevenage chairman Luke Donovan said: “We have always known the great work the team do, and we are so proud that it is being recognised on a national scale. They thoroughly deserve the award.”

The INS is based at the Sherma Batson Centre, off Exchange Road in Bedwell. Its dedicated volunteers put on events throughout each week to support those members who can get out of their homes and join in.

“However, there are many vulnerable members that are unable to join us, and that is where our care in the community volunteers help the most,” an INS spokeswoman said.

“They visit them in their homes, care homes and even hospital – nothing is too much trouble. The volunteers are the eyes and the ears of the Irish Network Stevenage, and they help to identity and address any issues that they find.

“Care in the community is a fantastic team of volunteers who give their time freely and treat every one of our members as part of their own family. As trustees we have always known how valuable they are, and it is amazing now that their contribution is being acknowledged in such a way.

“For the team to be awarded the Irish in Britain group volunteer award is not just a testament to their hard work, but also a testament to the importance of volunteers and the contribution they make to the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

Stevenage owes much to the contributions of Irish families who put in years of hard graft to help build the New Town from 1946 onwards.

Prominent Stevenage Irish figures who came to the town as builders include INS chairman Mr Donovan and Mick Cotter, who rose to be mayor of the borough.

To find out more about the INS, give them a call on 01438 725400 or have a look online at irishnetworkstevenage.org.uk.

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