29 March 2022
By Tom Collins
Awards were to recognise Cork people and companies that “did sound things” during the multiple lockdowns we experienced.
The Rebel Spirit Awards is a concept and event organised by Mulley Communications, the event was sponsored by MBC Financial, the Communicators Category was sponsored by Hollywood LED Letters and the event was hosted on March 28 in Cork International Hotel.
Winners included Shine Centre for Autism (Cork), McWilliam Sailmakers, the Central Statistics Office,The Two Norries Podcast and with a special award for Tommy Long of the Two Norries podcast.
Cork actor and writer Tadhg Hickey MC’ed the event and gave the floor to nominees who told their stories of why they did what they did.
The awards paid tribute to the artists, musicians, companies, community activists, public service members and more that made hearts burst with joy when we needed it most.
Speaking about the awards, Alan McCarthy from MBC Financial said
“We wanted to highlight some heroic work done by Cork people and companies during the
Lockdown and we had a finalist list of people that did Cork so proud. We were so lucky to gather these great people in a room and give them recognition for what they did.”
Sarah Walshe from MBC Financial noted
“These were the quiet heroes all around us doing work to help others out, people who did it because they felt it was the right thing to do, and never sought any attention for what they did. We want to hear about them and let others know what they did.”
The winners and their details are
1. Local Business Community Spirit
Ciara Parsons of Telus International Ireland
Ciara donates veg grown on the Telus International campus to organisations like Penny Dinners and the Cottage Community Cafe via her bike. In total Ciara has grown and delivered about 235kg of organic food so far.
2. Local Business – Pivoting Category
McWilliam Sailmakers – Claire Morgan
McWilliam Sailmakers kept their premises open, and their staff, and local kids volunteered to make PPE gowns for use across hospitals, surgeries and dental clinics across the country. They made approximately 10k gowns..
3. Arts and Culture
Will Sliney Art Challenge
When the schools were shut, Will Sliney encouraged kids to draw and gave 1000s of kids positive feedback and encouragement via his YouTube channel.
4. Fundraising: Innovative or impressive fundraising 2020/2021
Bernie and Pat O’Connor
Bernie and Pat O’Connor from Bantee created a virtual fundraiser in memory of their son Rory and raised more than €38,000 for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
5. Public Service Category
When covid hit in early 2020 Denis was volunteering for the SUAS literacy and numeracy programme in Scoil Padre Pio, Churchfield. This was stopped and students didn’t have the resources to do online lessons. Denis and friends fundraised and bought 12 tablets and 4 laptops for students. But the school itself had very outdated equipment so they fundraised and bought 14 brand new desktops and computer tablets the school.
6. Community / Voluntary Orgs Category
Shine Centre for Autism (Cork)
The Shine Centre has an Early Intervention Unit that works with 18 children aged between 3 and 6 years old 5 days per week. As each child’s needs are different, they provide bespoke learning programmes for each child. They were unable to provide this service during lockdown periods so staff worked tirelessly to convert their materials (over 200 programmes) and made them available online. Each child received an individual education plan each week where their individual programmes could be accessed online. The tutors also worked directly with the parents via soon and WhatApp to support them while they worked with the children.
7. Rebel Thinking Category – Sponsored by AB Sales
Al Dalton – Notes to Cork
Notes to Cork – Positive messages on Cork Billboards
Al Dalton used some 200 billboard sites, dotted around the city and suburbs, to help foster community and care at a time when business from mainstream advertisers went quiet. That then morphed into handwritten positive notes for the public that were placed around the city/suburbs to be found and enjoyed when all of us were restricted to our 5km and county. Additionally over €5000 was raised for Cork ARC Cancer Support House with the ‘Notes4CorkArc’ campaign
8. Communicators Category – Sponsored by Hollywood LED Letters
Joint Winners, as they did different things
Eoin English – Irish Examiner
Eoin acted as a conduit for good verified information during the lockdown. He was producing a lot of information and sharing it widely to the people of Cork. He was present on social media where he was answering questions the public had as well as finding the information they were looking for. Eoin seemed to be ever-present for the past two years.
Central Statistics Office
Even with everyone working from home the Central Statistics Office was distributing factual and useful information that the public and key decision-makers relied on. Included in this was the creation of the COVID-19 Information Hub where the CSO provided data and analysis on a number of topics such as Deaths and Cases, Travel and Employment/Unemployment.
9. Content Creators Category – sponsored by VUDINI.AI
Two Norries Podcast
The Two Norries Podcast hosted by James Leonard and Timmy Long covers themes across the social and health sphere with a particular focus on addiction, drug use, crime and recovery. This proved to be very useful content to people during the lockdown. Tough issues are spoken about and explained with sensitivity and humour with the hope of reducing stigma and stereotypes.
10 A Nod Beyond Cork Category – Sponsored by Blacknight
Recognising people and organisations beyond Cork who did amazing things that made an impact
Feed the Heroes fed 200,000 meals to frontline workers
Feed The Heroes delivered 200,000 meals to frontline workers nationwide during the first lockdown. They delivered from Bantry to Letterkenny and raised €1.4m in the process. Cian O’Flaherty could see the daily sacrifice and toll that Covid-19 put on people working frontline jobs. They gave so much that it was the least we could do to keep them going while we sat at home.
11. Special award to Timmy Long
Timmy is raising money to provide educational psychology assessments that will help to identify and diagnose the needs of children who are struggling within the education system. His fundraiser is hoping to help change the course of at least some of their lives. They are starting with three schools in the Knocknaheeny area: St Marys on the Hill Primary school, Terence MacSwiney Community College and Churchfield Padre Pio Primary School.