Wicklow groups honoured at all-Ireland community awards

Wicklow groups triumphed at the prestigious Pride of Place community awards on Friday evening (November 10) at a gala ceremony in the Armagh City Hotel.

Hollywood Village took first place in the ‘Population 0-500’ category, with ReWild Wicklow receiving a judges Special Award for their environmental work.

Avoca Village came runner up in the ‘Population 500-1500’ category, with Wicklow Tidy Towns coming runner up in the ‘Creative Place Initiative’ category.

Judges praised Hollywood Village for their ‘shared vision’.

“This is a beautiful village with a very clear sense of community and pride of place. The judges were highly impressed by the extensive work undertaken by all the groups working towards a shared vision for the village with a strong emphasis on collaboration, partnership, inclusiveness, positivity and with a deep respect for the environment and its unique heritage.”

Main Competition Categories 1 Ð 8 John Hogan, Chair IPB and Trevor Ringland, Co-operation Ireland Category One – Population 0-500 8. Hollywood Village, Co Wicklow Joint Winner

Rewild Wicklow was described as “a group with a terrific culture of collaboration, that is a model of a community response to providing opportunities for committed individuals to contribute to rewilding and bio-diversity protection.”

The awards, hosted by UTV’s Pamela Ballentine, took place in 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.

Pacemaker Press 10-11-2023: Pride of Place Awards 2023 Friday 10th November at the Armagh City Hotel in Northern Ireland. John Kearns Ð CEO IPB Insurance, Terry OÕNeill, Co-operation Ireland Category Five Communities Welcoming New CommunitiesCategory Seven A Community Wellbeing Initiative: Holistic Enniscorthy Community Allotments, Co Wexford with their award. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

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.” 

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