22 November 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork City’s Blarney Village and environmental group SHEP Earth Aware and Elders for Earth won top prize in their categories at the all-Ireland Pride of Place community awards on Saturday evening.
The awards, hosted by Marty Morrissey, took place online due to the Covid pandemic with 6,000 people logging in from across Ireland to see community groups pick up gongs.
Blarney Village took top spot in the Urban Neighbourhoods With a Population under 3,000 category with Judges praising them for developing a “a very caring community, with fantastic volunteers, where a very impressive list of activities was presented. Notwithstanding a celebrated and established tourist attraction the judges were in no doubt that this is a community with great heart and spirit.”
SHEP’s efforts to improve awareness on climate change were praised for telling, “a persuasive story of climate chaos, climate justice, intergenerational justice and loss of bio-diversity thanks to the efforts of their volunteers.”
They took top spot in the Community Climate Action Initiative category.
Elsewhere, Ballincollig came runners up in the Urban Neighbourhoods with a population over 3,000 category to Donnybrook in Dublin, and The Hut Youth & Community Resource Centre, Gurranabraher were runners up in the Creative Place Initiative category to Galway’s Westside Arts Festival.
Also pipped at the post were South Side Youth Forum who lost out to Lisburn’s Damask Community Outreach programme in the Community Youth Led Initiative category.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 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.
President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland with Queen Elizabeth, 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.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said; “These Awards continue to be as important as ever after all these years and the purpose of the awards has never changed. They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live.”
Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: “Pride of Place deserves its position as one of the most prestigious community awards on the island of Ireland and Co-operation Ireland is delighted that it continues to go from strength to strength.”
George Jones Chairman, IPB Insurance said: “We are proud to be title sponsors of the Pride of Place awards and continue to be amazed by the standard of submissions and their social impact on communities is a testament to an individual and collective vision for a better Ireland.
“This competition provides a fitting platform to recognise the vast strides communities across the island of Ireland are making. It is essential, now more than ever, that in these challenging times that we reflect and focus on the positives and take time to celebrate the excellent work accomplished around the island of Ireland.”