The 50th Community Games National AGM was held virtually via Zoom on the 29th May 2021.
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our 50th Annual General Meeting. It also gives me the pleasure of welcoming you all to the first online AGM of Community Games.
"The last 15 months have borne truth to the words of Oliver Goldsmith; “life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations”.
When we parted company in Sligo last year after a successful AGM with frank exchanges, none of us could have envisioned what lay ahead. Unfortunately, to date we are still living with Covid-19 restrictions. Though, with apologies to Goldsmith, the road is starting to become wider and less uneven and the accommodations are improving all the time.
A week after the AGM we had to take the unprecedented step, like many NGBs, to innovate our offering. Our focus was on those we loved, those within our families and communities who worked in frontline services. Keeping them safe, keeping ourselves safe and looking after the vulnerable in our communities.
I am proud of the fact that Aldi Community Games reinvented itself to give something to those children who suddenly found themselves out of school and isolated from their friends. We introduced online challenges and activities that became very popular and brought Community Games to a wider audience. This was down to the hard work of our Volunteer led Committees, David and staff who took on a tremendous novel workload with enthusiasm and it was great to see the amount of children who took part in the various challenges and took part in our online festivals.
The decision to open the competition to all entries was the correct one. 2020 was a year for us all to be in this together and offering our activities to all young people, regardless of where they lived, showed that the community spirit of Community Games is still the most important part of this organisation.
All of this has helped to keep us increase our brand awareness and stay relevant, in a way that many NGBs were unable to. That is down to the diversity of events we cover which allows us to tailor some of them for the online platform. It is also down to each Area, County, Provincial Committee and volunteer who posted and shared our events, videos and pictures across various social media platforms. I would like to give special mention to the Christmas Choir, it brought out the best in this organisation and it was great to see so many entries and such a brilliant production and well done to all involved, particularly the stars, the children.
2020 was an exceptionally challenging year organisationally but as you can see with the hard work of the Board of Directors, Committees, CEO and staff the situation has much improved. Much work is left to be done but I can categorically assure you that it will continue and the Board, Committees and Staff take seriously the trust you have placed in us as the caretakers of your organisation.
Looking back at 2020, it has not just been a lost year in many ways, but a year of loss.Many here today have lost loved ones. The Community Games family wasn’t able to rally around as it usually would. Your families were however always in our thoughts and prayers and I express my deepest sympathy on my behalf and on behalf of the organisation.
As a governing body we also lost previous Chairman, Brian McManus and in 2021 former President, Michael Curley. Both dedicated themselves to Community Games over many decades and are a huge loss to their families and to us as an organisation.
We also lost our Deputy President, Tony Lee. Tony’s loss was felt keenly as he was as active as ever and was an ever present force at our virtual board meetings. A man dedicated to what he believed in was right for Community Games he was always available for advice. To his family I extend our deepest condolences. I also know he is missed by many in this organisation but he has left an indelible stamp on all of us who had honour of working with him.
At Area , County, Provincial and Committee level we lost several active Community Games Volunteers who were invaluable to our organisation over the years we extend our deepest sympathies.
As we look forward to 2021 it will be a challenging year as well. We are running a different type of Festival with a virtual festival Festival in June and reduced physical programme later in the year. I want to thank all those volunteers who have got their Areas and Counties up and running and involved. Without you this would not be possible.
I would like to thank our title sponsors Aldi for their continued commitment to Community Games and how they supported our events throughout the year. We were delighted to welcome Bus Eireann and TFI as partners to Community Games during 2020 and we appreciate the support they have given the organisation.
I would like to thank Sport Ireland for their continued support throughout the last year. In 2020 they provided additional funding to support both NGB’s and their Club affiliates which we are very grateful for. They have also provided resources for training which has been invaluable to Board members and Staff.
I want to thank my fellow Board members and the members of the various committees for their hard work and support over the last year. To David and the staff I want to express special thanks. We are lucky to have a dedicated CEO and staff who work incredibly hard for this organisation.
I want to thank you for placing your faith in me to lead the organisation.
As this has been an unusual year, as I finish, I want to express publically my thanks to those within all our communities who have been at the frontline so that we could all keep ourselves safe. They are part of every community in Ireland and many are part of our Community Games areas as volunteers or past participants.
So to the doctors, nurses, carers, health support staff, Gardai, shop workers and other staff within many services who kept the country running and looked after the sick and vulnerable, on behalf of Community Games I say thank you. For 2020 I think they are the Community Games heroes.
To end on another quote, this time from Amiel - “Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
I think it is very suitable quote as we finally work towards the end of this pandemic and I look forward to us returning to meeting and chatting in person with all the volunteers who make this the great organisation it is."
Gerry McGuinness, President Community Games
Congratulations to the newly elected Board of Directors:
President: Gerry McGuinness - Mayo
Deputy President: Joseph Fox - Longford
General Vice President: Fiona Shannon - Wicklow
Treasurer: Eileen Doherty - Meath
Company Secretary Shirley Maloney Longford
Activities Director James Durkan Meath
PR and Marketing Director: Jane Walsh - Laois
Security Director: Peter Gillespie - Sligo
Youth Director: Eleanor O’Brien - Limerick
Michael Sheahan - Limerick (Munster)
Catherine Whelan - Laois (Leinster)
Phyllis Farrell - Wicklow
Emily Wallace - Westmeath
Aoife Byrne - Longford
Kevin Brady - Westmeath
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