23 October 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard


COMMUNITY achievement awards, which recognized outstanding voluntary effort that exuded with a spirit of true volunteerism were signally recognized and celebrated by a large attendance which packed the Íontas Theatre, Castleblayney on Monday night last, for the presentation of nine achievement citations to highly deserving groups and individuals from all over Co. Monaghan.

The audience was drawn from all across the county and included the Minister for the Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., and the Castleblayney-born Director General of the GAA, Páraic Duffy.

All had gathered at the ninth annual event to celebrate the wonderful community spirit and dedicated resolve of the finalists who devote their time and energy on a voluntary basis to make Monaghan a better place for all.

Irish TV was also on hand to record the proceedings, which will be aired as a full programme in the near future.

The large crowd filled the 300- seat theatre and represented a perfect cross-section of modern Co. Monaghan society, with people from many different nationalities in attendance.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Mr. Francis McCarron, who is Development Team Leader of Monaghan Integrated Development, the host body, invited Mr. Gabriel O’Connell, C.E.O. of Monaghan Integrated Development, to address the gathering.

In his address, Mr. O’Connell welcomed everyone and began by thanking all the groups and individuals who took the time and effort to nominate someone for an award and for coming along to the presentation to support their nominee.

Having spoken about the importance of volunteering he noted that, one of the main reasons given by people for not being involved in voluntary activity was that no one asked them!.
He said many of the projects being undertaken by community and voluntary Groups nowadays were often quite specialised and demanding and could range from community shops to health and social service type projects.

He urged groups to think about the volunteer skills they need on board to manage such projects and any staff they may employ. He pointed out that help was available from Monaghan Integrated Development programmes. These included the Monaghan Volunteer Centre, which, he said, provided training to groups in how to encourage new members and manage volunteers.

He continued that this was achieved through the activities of the MID Community Development Team which worked to build the capacity of community and voluntary groups across the county to firstly identify and respond to local needs, secondly to develop actions and project plans, thirdly to secure funding and staffing to make their projects sustainable.

He said Monaghan Integrated Development believed the important work of capacity building, training and support for groups must also be matched with the equally important follow- on project funding and ongoing supports like work placement.

On the funding side, he said, the LEADER Programme team had been providing important funding for many of the identified projects to improve the quality of life for rural communities.
On the community work placement side, MID now had a total of 140 people employed and working in almost 90 community projects across the county under the TUS and Rural Social Scheme programmes, funded by the Department of Social Protection.

He said: “There are significant staffing resources available for community groups, so if your group or voluntary project could benefit from a …

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