14 December 2020
By Tom Collins
This week Clean Coasts will recognise the work of some outstanding volunteer groups across Ireland by highlighting outstanding groups and individuals with Ocean Hero Recognition Awards. The Clean Coasts programme is Ireland’s foremost community-based coastal education programme, which counts on the work of over 1,200 volunteer groups nationwide. Every year, Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts’ Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006, consisting then of only one category, ‘The Clean Coasts’ Group of the Year’. Since then the Clean Coasts’ programme has grown to engage over 1,200 Clean Coasts groups and celebrate many Ocean Heroes nationwide.
It has been an unusual year and, like everyone, Clean Coasts and their volunteers have had to adapt to the situation. The continued support, engagement and interest from the many Clean Coasts volunteers around the country has been outstanding, showing dedication and resilience through these testing times. Clean Coasts understand that it was not possible for everybody to take part in activities and that for some it was incredibly frustrating not being able to get out to those places that they love and normally care for. However, there is great value in sharing examples of the creative solutions that groups have come up with to inspire us all looking ahead to the new year.
Many Clean Coast volunteers around the country made a great effort to carry out beach cleans while following government guidelines and restrictions, for example dividing stretches of coastline to be cleaned, setting up online event registration to ensure numbers were capped and putting extra measures in place for sanitisation of equipment.
In a nod to the Ocean Hero Awards which Clean Coasts, the work of these dedicated groups and individuals will be highlighted in a week of online celebrations, from 14th – 20th December sharing their stories, achievements and advice for how other groups can get back on track in 2021.
‘At a time when we usually celebrate our Ocean Hero Awards, we want to take a moment to recognise those groups and individuals who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to protect our coast this year and to celebrate our long-standing volunteers. ’ Sinead McCoy, Coastal Communities Manager.
In Co. Cork, Ballynamona Clean Coasts are being recognised under the ‘Against the Odds’ category while Marc McCarthy in Schull and paddle-boarder Dave Ludgate of Subowti are both being recognised under the ‘Dedicated Individuals’ category.
This year volunteers will be recognised under the following categories:
Against The Odds: Groups who have kept going ‘against the odds’ this year and adapted to Covid 19 restrictions.
- Cooley Community Alert, Co. Louth
- Wexford Estuary Clean Coasts group
- Killiney Community Council, Co. Dublin
- Keep our Beaches Clean, Co. Mayo
- Ballynamona Clean Coasts, Co. Cork
- Galway Atlantaquaria
- Meath Beach Management Committee
Longterm Commitment: Acknowledging our long-standing groups.
- Bray Coastcare Group, Co. Wicklow
- Wexford Sub Aqua Club
- Enniscrone Tidy Town, Co. Sligo
- Cósta Glan agus Glass An Fhal Carraigh, Co. Donegal
- Spanish Point Community Group, Co. Clare
- Rush Tidy Town, Co. Dublin
- Sandycove Tidy Towns, Co. Dublin
- Bull Island Action Group, Co. Dublin
Dedicated Individuals: Individuals who have gone above and beyond this year or those who have strongly promoted the 2 Minute Beach Clean campaign.
- Subowti, Cork
- Sean Ferguson, Co. Wexford
- Marc McCarthy, Co. Cork
- Joan Connaghy, Co. Louth
Outstanding Newcomers: Welcome recognition to newcomers that have adapted well.
- Amigos of the Earth, Co. Dublin
- Tarryfest, Co. Mayo
- Leitrim Litter Picker (Martina Healy), Co. Leitrim
- Seawaves, Co. Clare