Aislinn Nugent of Valleymount LFGA has been chosen as the County Wicklow Volunteer in Sports of the year.
The Volunteers in Sport Awards celebrate the contributions of the band of volunteers across the country who give their time to Irish sport and physical activity every year.
The awards will be presented at an event in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, County Dublin, on Wednesday, March 22nd. The event will see volunteers from all 32 counties honoured for their dedication to volunteering across a variety of different sports.
The winner of the award for County Wicklow is Aislinn Nugent of Valleymount LGFA. Aislinn has transformed the club in the last 20 years from having no sporting outlet for females to now a thriving club for women and girls alike. Her inclusive attitude has been a driving force behind the success of the club.
Throughout the Covid pandemic, Aislinn was working with many of the elderly in the local community as she noticed a lot of them had no contact with the community or any social outlet. Combining this with their need for exercise Aislinn set up ‘Chair Yoga’ as well as giving them the opportunity to walk in a safe environment in the grounds of the club.
In more recent years, Aislinn has set up a five-step youth mental health campaign called ‘One Good Club’ which has given the club guidance on how to respond to the needs of its members. Aislinn’s selfless attitude and willingness to help others shines through in everything that she does.
Throughout December and January members of the public, sports clubs and governing bodies were invited by the Federation of Irish Sport in partnership with the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships to nominate an individual whose contribution to sport and physical activity in Ireland has made a real difference to their community, club or county.
Aislinn was congratulated on her win by the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, who praised her for all her selfless community volunteering, especially during the Covid pandemic. Chief Executive of the Council, Emer O’Gorman also congratulated Aislinn and added that it was well deserved recognition for her many years of volunteering in sport and in the community.
Commenting on the awards, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD said: “The volunteers being recognised today deserve enormous credit. Their work, often unseen and undertaken without any fuss or fanfare, makes sport a reality for hundreds if not thousands of people in their communities.
“In particular, the work of volunteers enables young people to play the sport that they love, to meet their friends and form lasting friendships. In so many ways, volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in this country, and I am privileged to have this opportunity to publicly acknowledge their vital contribution to Irish sport.”
Speaking about the importance of the awards, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said: “In every county throughout the country, clubs and sporting organisations facilitate multi-generational opportunities for people to be involved in sport and physical activity. The work and goodwill of sport volunteers across the country cannot be taken for granted.
“Every week in Ireland more than 450,000 volunteers bring sport and physical activity to life for our communities and it’s time we afford their hard work the recognition it deserves. It is therefore important that we showcase the size and scale of this contribution by bringing such volunteers together today at the Volunteers in Sport Awards with attendees from every county in the country to shine a spotlight on the positive work they do for sport and physical activity.”