Two Wicklow volunteers were awarded top honours at this year’s Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony in Dublin City Hall yesterday.
Lorraine Dempsey claimed first prize in the Health and Disability category and Fintan Mulligan placed first in the Education and Training category.
Lorraine Dempsey is the Chairperson of the Aughrim-based Special Needs Parents Association, which provides support to parents of persons with special needs and disabilities, and advocates improved treatment, education, welfare and acceptance.
As media spokesperson for he group, Lorraine’s volunteering is a 24/7 commitment. She regularly represents the organisation on television and radio, and attends many conferences and meetings around the country.
Julie Anne Cunneen who nominated Lorraine for a Volunteer Ireland Award, said: “Lorraine was responsible for the development and growth of SNPA – she got involved through her own experience of having a child with a disability and the struggles of finding support. She has never turned away from offering her help in spite of the commitments she must have with her own family and life. She has worked so hard to support so many families that I think it is time for us to show her how much we appreciate her by nominating her for this award.”
Fintan Mulligan is founder of Ashford-based 121digital and has worked for 30 years in computer software and mobile phone technology. Ten years ago he ran mobile phone lessons in schools in Bray and Cabinteely for adults.
He started 121digital three years ago in order to help in his local community and he quickly discovered an on-going and wider demand for lessons.
121digital matches student volunteer teachers with senior learners, offering lessons directly to seniors in the community to help them communicate with their family and friends. The project is established in seven County Wicklow schools and three County Kerry schools.
Fintan’s son, Marc, who nominated him for a Volunteer Ireland Award said: “Dad and his other volunteer mentors and tutors have made technology accessible to hundreds of people so far, putting his time and money into 121digital, cultivating it, nurturing it, offering it to all.”
Another Wicklow volunteer, Albert Kerr, who has volunteered with Queen of Peace Adventure Youth Club in Bray for over 46 years, was also nominated for in the Children and Youth category.