Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh welcomes 27 Golden Volunteers from Aldi Community Games to Athlone on Saturday 18th March
As part of Aldi Community Games’ Jubilee celebrations (1967 to 2017), each county was asked to select a nominee for the Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award, someone who has given outstanding service to Community Games since its foundation. The public were directed to the independent.ie website to cast their vote for the overall Golden Jubilee Volunteer Award.
90 year-old Lily Kavanagh received the Wicklow nomination after over 45 years of hands-on dedication. She was one of a small group of people who founded Community Games in Wicklow in 1972. With no money and much fundraising to be done, Lily and her friends staged the first Wicklow County Community Games athletic finals in Bray in the summer of 1973. She attends Community Games area finals every year and opens the county athletics finals in Shillelagh where she delivers her President’s address. She then judges the parade and stays for the rest of the day to present medals.
Lifelong Enniskerry resident Lily Kavanagh had planned to retire from her involvement with Community Games at the age of 60. That was over 30 years ago and on Saturday 18th March 2017 a still involved Lily was crowned Aldi Community Games Golden Jubilee Volunteer in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
Mícheál Ó’Muircheartaigh commented in his address on Lily’s determination to walk up the ramp to take her place with all the other nominees, even though she had to use the aid of a walker. Lily was just one of 27 worthy and deserving nominees who all were rewarded for their service to Aldi Community Games on Saturday and her story is one that Aldi Community Games is all too familiar with – dedication, devotion, selflessness and never giving up!
“I have so many happy memories volunteering at Community Games over the years," she said. "When we first started many families were very poor and couldn't afford to get involved in the few facilities. It was a huge team effort to change this and I know it has made a big difference to so many people."
Each nominee received €100 euros worth of Aldi vouchers and a personalised gold medallion. Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Arlene Regan of the Irish Independent also presented a delighted Lily Kavanagh with a €1,500 Sunway travel voucher.
Volunteers are the foundation of Aldi Community Games. Gerard Davenport, President of Aldi Community Games, thanked all the nominees and said:
"It is the dedication and hard work of volunteers, which has brought Aldi Community Games to this 50-year milestone. The role of the volunteer is paramount to the success of the organisation. We are deeply indebted to those people who have kept the Games alive by giving their time generously.
With over 20,000 volunteers supporting us in the organisation of events each year, I acknowledge our volunteers as the foundation of Community Games and I extend an invitation to new members to come and join as Adult or Youth volunteers. I would also like to thank Aldi our title sponsors, the Irish Independent, Sunway Travel, the HSE and Kia Motors for their generous support over the last year."
Commenting on the event, Giles Hurley, Group Managing Director Aldi Ireland said:
"I would like to congratulate all the volunteers that have been honoured today and express a heartfelt thank you to the other 20,000 volunteers around the country. These volunteers give so much of themselves to Aldi Community Games and expect so little in return. It is their dedication and enthusiasm that makes Community Games possible, year after year.
It is a great honour for Aldi to support Community Games, particularly in its Golden Jubilee Year."
The Silver Surfer Awards are in their 8th year and our very own Margaret Culloty from Firies in Co. Kerry has been shortlisted!
You'd be forgiven for assuming the beaches of Kerry are where the surfing takes place, in fact the aim of the Silver Surfer Awards is to raise awareness among older people of the benefits of being online and to encourage those who have not gone online to give it a try.
Almost 1 in 5 adults have never used the internet - that’s more than 550,000 people. The majority of these are older people with 53% (280,000) of those aged 60 to 74 never having been online. As of the National Digital Strategy report published in July 2013 (pdf), only 3% of those aged 75 and over had used the internet.
Aldi Community Games introduced an Online Registration System in 2014 and removed all need for completion of handwritten panel forms. While the system was designed to be user-friendly and functional it still requires some IT skills and well, like everything, a bit of practice and training.
Margaret embraced the new system with open arms and not only that, she is helping her Area Secretaries use it too! We had a chat with Margaret today about this "very big deal" (in our opinion ;-)):
“It was a great surprise to be nominated. I started using a computer many years ago to type letters, but gradually began to use it for emails and creating the Kerry athletics programme. Now, we have a Kerry Community Games website for results, a Facebook page, and the national online system as well. It makes life so much easier and there’s a sense of achievement when you learn to do something new. I would tell anyone who is hesitant about using a computer to just give it a try – most of it is trial and error but you’ll get there in the end and it will be worth it.”
We are so proud of Margaret and fingers crossed for her at the finals on 28th March when the winners are announced.
For more information on this initiative see Age Action's page.
The HSE have issued the following advice to the public:
Methanol is contained in solvents, anti-freeze and windscreen wash. It is also called methyl alcohol, carbinol, wood alcohol or wood spirit.
People who drink methanol may initially have symptoms of loss of balance, staggering, slurred speech and eye tremor.
There may be a gap of 12 -24 hours before symptoms of methanol poisoning develop. These can include headache, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and rapid breathing. In severe cases, convulsions and coma can develop.
Voting has been phenomenal so far in our mission to celebrate our "Golden Volunteers". There are just 5 days left to vote so make sure you click here: http://www.independent.ie/goldenvolunteer/ and vote for your County volunteer!
The lovely Mícheál Ó'Muircheartaigh will be on hand on the day of the Awards to meet and the nominees and to present the overall winner with their prize.
One of our favourite viral videos of last year was the famous ham sandwich video from Mícheál...we hope you like it ;-)
Our Community Games Golden Volunteers have been nominated by each county and they will all be celebrated on the 18th March 2017 at a lunch in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone.
Get your copy of the Irish Independent on 22nd February to see how you can vote.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about our very deserving Golden Volunteers click into each image below:
To kick off our Golden Jubilee celebrations, Community Games in conjunction with Kia Ireland, ran a National Jubilee Draw. The draw took place at the National Area, Volunteer and Media Awards on 28th November 2016 in Salthill Hotel, Galway. Tickets were sold throughout Ireland by local Community Games committees. There was also a special raffle held on the night for Areas who had sold the most tickets with Steelstown, Co. Derry scooping the top prize of €500.
For every €10 ticket sold, the Area selling them retained €7, allowing them to finance their own Jubilee celebrations and also to add to much needed funds for their Area. Here is a picture of our overall winner Jimmy O’Regan from Kilmeedy in County Limerick receiving the top prize - A brand new KIA cee’d GT Line worth over €20,000. Congratulations Jimmy! KIA Ireland are the Official Car Partner to Community Games. James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland said: “We are delighted to be associated with Community Games. Kia is primarily a family brand and we see a great fit between the organisation and our customer base. We are proud to help promote the great work of Community Games in any way we can.
Aldi announces three-year title sponsorship of Community Games and confirms significant six-figure investment
Aldi Ireland today announced a new three year partnership with Community Games, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, that will see Aldi provide a significant six-figure investment to become its title sponsor.
The Aldi Community Games sponsorship was unveiled by Paul O’Connell at the University of Limerick, where he was reunited with John Dempsey, his former swimming coach.
Speaking at the announcement, Giles Hurley, Group Managing Director Aldi Ireland said, “Community Games is an integral part of Irish society that has touched the lives of millions of young people in towns and villages across Ireland. It is a great honour for Aldi to support Community Games, particularly in its Golden Jubilee year. We share the Games’ vision of promoting active, healthy lifestyles for children and young people and over the next three years we will provide the financial support to ensure more communities and children than ever can participate. Making a positive impact in the communities our 128 stores serve is a priority for Aldi.”
2017 marks the Golden Jubilee of Community Games in Ireland. Over the past 50 years more than 5 million children have participated and competed across a wide range of sporting and cultural activities. Recent research conducted by Onside found almost half the Irish population to be interested in Community Games*. Aldi’s funding will ensure the Games continue to be enjoyed by the next generation of Irish children, providing the support to reach more communities and giving more young people the opportunity to participate than ever before.
John Byrne, Community Games CEO commented, “2017 marks a hugely significant milestone for Community Games. It is our 50th birthday and it is the beginning of a much valued partnership with Aldi. Having Aldi come on board as our title sponsor is something we are all really excited about. The focus of Community Games has always been geared towards giving young people the tools to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. We know Aldi shares this vision with us and we are looking forward to involving more communities and young people this year than ever.”
This year in excess of 160,000 children across 575 communities are expected to compete in 200 scheduled regional events supported by 10,000 volunteers. There is a huge selection of sports and activities on offer including individual and team sports such as Art, Model Making, Javelin, Camogie, Football and Hurling. Regional champions will progress to the National Festivals, which take place 6th May and 18th to 20th August at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Co. Dublin.
Over the past half century many of Ireland’s celebrities, sporting heroes and world-famous actors including Paul O’Connell, Saoirse Ronan, Olive Loughnane, Bressie, Niall Quinn and Sonia O’Sullivan have taken part in Community Games.
Speaking at the launch, Paul O’Connell, Aldi Play Rugby ambassador commented, “I remember my time participating in Community Games with great affection. The community spirit and camaraderie of the Games is truly unique. It’s not only about winning - the focus for me was on taking part and enjoying sports which led to a healthy lifestyle. Competing from a young age in swimming, I learnt the importance of preparation, determination and dedication - values I later applied on the rugby pitch. My relationship with Aldi began last September when I came on board as ambassador for Aldi Play Rugby. I have witnessed first-hand how effective and committed Aldi are to the community support initiatives they are involved in.”
*Research conducted by ONSIDE - “ONSIDE - Sport and Community Interest Study 2016”
On Saturday 26th November, over 350 Community Games volunteers from all over Ireland attended the National Area, Volunteer and Media Awards in the Salthill Hotel in Galway. MC for the night was Tony O'Donoghue and distinguished guests included former Olympian Olive Loughnane, Minister Sean Canney, Deputy Mayor of Galway Pearce Flannery, County Galway GAA Chairman Noel Treacy, Former DTTAS Secretary Donagh Morgan, Councillor Peter Keane, Philp Gillen of the HSE, Brighid Carson of INM Group and Aidan Doyle of Kia Ireland.
The Awards Ceremony is now in its 24th year and is one of Community Games most celebrated and prestigious events with over 100 prizes being awarded on the night. Adult and Youth Volunteers are the cornerstone on which Community Games is built and these Awards reflect the tremendous work being carried out at grassroots level across all four Provinces.
Media winners were nominated and judged in a variety of categories such as best ‘Social Media’, ‘Best Regional Newspaper’, ‘Best Area PRO’ and the Irish Independent sponsored ‘Best Published Article and Best Published Picture’. The marketing of Community Games at regional level is as important as the marketing at National level and something we encourage among all of our volunteers.
The night was particularly special for Jimmy O'Regan in Limerick who won a brand new Kia cee'd GT Line sponsored by the Official Car Partner Kia Ireland. The raffle was held ahead of the Golden Jubilee with tickets being sold Nationwide from last August. Each Area that sold tickets retained 70% of the proceeds to assist in their drive to raise development funds for their own areas. Runner up prizes for The Golden Jubilee Raffle were Hotel Vouchers from 12 Irish Hotels. The Golden Jubilee raffle proved to be so successful that a separate draw was held for the many areas who sold over 4 books of tickets with Steelstown in Derry winning €500.
Olive Loughnane, a former Community Games participant, Olympian and 2009 World Champion in athletics said: "When I was picked to go to Mosney in 1992 it felt like I had qualified for the Olympics! I was a late developer and being chosen to be on the team was an amazing confidence boost for me. I made some wonderful friends and great memories. I remember trying my best and not being too concerned whether I won or lost once I knew I had tried my best. That has been my philosophy ever since and I consistently always strive to do my best, win, lose or draw! I would like to thank all the volunteers in Community Games who promote sport, friendship and friendly competition on a daily basis and say well done to all the winners on their awards tonight."
Gerry Davenport, President of Community Games said:
"I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers in Community Games who give so much of themselves and expect so very little in return, and to our funders and the HSE may I take this opportunity to also say thank you for your continued support. "
Joe Fox, General Vice President said:
"The Area Awards reward all of those who work at grassroots level. It is a joy to see so many selfless people here tonight being presented with prizes!"
Bernie Brennan, PR and Communications Director said:
“Community Games has always moved with the times. There is a tremendous amount of exceptional work being done at a local level, especially in terms of Social Media engagement and we are delighted to see the trend of engaging facebook and website pages being developed and maintained by our busy and enterprising volunteers. Well done to all the winners."
There was much cheering as Ballymahon Forgney were crowned overall Area Winners on the night for the second year running! Ballymahon Forgney were also awarded the Steps to Health 2016 Gold quality standard - one of only three areas across the country to be honoured in this way.
One of the highlights of the night was when MC Tony O'Donoghue led the way as Community Games took part in the Mannequin Challenge. Take a look:
As Community Games gears up for its 2017 Jubilee celebrations one thing is for sure – the possibilities are endless.
Please see below for a full list of the winners on the night.
Noreen Hynes, Askea, Co. Carlow
Fionnuala McGahern, Co. Cavan
Anne Arthur O Brien, Co. Clare
Breda Norris O Sullivan, Co. Cork
Joanne Toland Doherty, Co. Derry
Mary O Donnell, Co. Donegal
Brian McManus, Co. Dublin
Tony Lee, Co. Galway
Sean Daly, Co. Kerry
Rita Timmons, Co. Kildare
Liz Gowing, Co.
Siobhan Whelan, Co.
Trish Aherne, Co.
Michelle Mulvey, Co.
Trudi McGuinness, Co. Louth
Hugh Lynn, Co.
Vinny Donnelly, Co.
Father Peader Corrigan, Co.
John Malone, Co.
Joe Henry, Co.
Margaret Cavanagh, Co. Sligo
Deirdre Ryan, Co. Tipperary
Geraldine Barry, Co. Waterford
Jason Moran, Co. Wexford
Fiona Kelly ShannonCo. Wicklow
Francis Whelan - Hacketstown, Co. Carlow
Cian Madden - Erne Valley, Co. Cavan
Lauren McConway - Quin/Clooney, Co. Clare
Jodie Cusack - Awbeg, Co. Cork
Aleesha Herron - Fanad, Co. Donegal
Patrick Sullivan - Gort, Co. Galway
Cassandra Myers - Keel/Kiltalagh, Co. Kerry
Cliodhna O Connor - Kilcullen, Co. Laois
Kyle McNabola - Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim
Noelle Curtin - Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick
Conor English - Lanesboro, Co. Longford
Tara McGuinness & Ardee & Reaghstown, Co. Louth
James Durkan - Boardsmill, Co. Meath
Darren Marrtin - Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan
Rebecca Healy - Ferbane, Co. Offaly
Craig Traynor - Elphin, Co. Roscommon
Eimear Harte - St. Michaels, Co. Sligo
Calumn Cooke - Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
Courtney Power - Clonea/Rathgormack, Co. Waterford
Dylan Kehoe - Glynn/Barntown, Co. Wexford
Small Area Winners
Kilkishen/O'Callaghans Mills Oatfield, Co. Clare
Awbeg, Co. Cork
Ramelton, Co. Donegal
Abbeydorney/Kilflynn, Co. Kerry
Maynooth East, Co. Kildare
Killeshin, Co. Laois
Lough Allen, Co. Leitrim
Broadford Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick
Newtowncashel, Co. Longford
Foxford, Co. Mayo
Clonard/Killyon, Co. Meath
Tyholland, Co. Monaghan
FBD, Co. Roscommon
Gurteen, Co. Sligo
Templederry, Co. Tipperary
Clonea/Rathgormack, Co. Waterford
Glynn/Barntown, Co. Wexford
Large Area Winners
Askea, Co. Carlow
Erne Valley, Co. Cavan
Quin Clooney, Co. Clare
Beara, Co. Cork
Long Tower, Co. Derry
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Iona, Co. Dublin
Athenry, Co. Galway
Kenmare, Co. Kerry
St Brigid's Newbridge, Co. Kildare
Emo Rath, Co. Laois
Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim
Ballybrown/Clarina, Co. Limerick
Ballymahon/Forgney, Co. Longford
Ardee and Reaghstown, Co. Louth
Breaffy, Co. Mayo
Slane, Co. Meath
Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan
Ferbane, Co. Offaly
Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon
St. Mary's, Co. Sligo
Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Tramore, Co. Waterford
Piercestown - Murrinstown, Co. Wexford
Aughrim/Annacurra, Co. Wicklow
Munster - Quin Clooney
Leinster - Ballymahon/Forgney
Connaught - St Mary's
Ulster - Letterkenny
Media Award Winners
Runner Up Regional Paper: Seamus Hayes, Clare Champion
Runner Up PRO: Mary Phelan
Runner Up Regional Paper: Peter Campbell, Donegal Democrat
Runner Up PRO: Michael Crossan
Overall Regional Paper: John Foley, Carlow Nationalist
Overall PRO:Noreen Hynes
Social Media: Ronan Gately, Dublin Community Games Facebook Page
Facebook Photo: Nicola Lalor, Offaly Community Games
Best Website:Rob Stephen, Clare Community Games
Radio:John Mulligan, Galway Bay FM
Irish Independent Sponsored Best Published Article: Michael Crossan, Donegal
Irish Independent Sponsored Best Published Photo: Alf Harvey, Laois
JUBILEE RAFFLE DRAW
Car: Jimmy O Regan. Co. Limerick.
Salthill Hotel: Veronica Walsh. Co. Limerick
Shamrock Lodge Hotel:.Loughglynn C.G. c/o Margaret Flanagan. Co. Roscommon
City Hotel Derry: Rebecca Lloyd. Co. Kerry
Mulligar Park Hotel: Karen Starr. Co. Tipperary
Strand Hotel Limerick: Shauna Ora Tierney. Co. Galway
Raheen Woods Hotel Galway: Killian Cullagh. Co. Tipperary
CastleTroy Park Hotel: Mary Moroney. Co. Tipperary
Corralea Court Hotel: Kilteely C.G. c/o Noreen O' Dea. Co. Limerick
Station House Donegal Hotel: Anne Taaffe. Co. Sligo
Kilmurry Lodge Hotel Limerick: Sean Doyle. Co. Leitrim
Woodlands Hotel Limerick: Athenry C.G. c/o John Kelly. Co. Galway
McGettigans Hotel Limerick: Danny Patton. Co. Donegal
A Participant may now compete in the following:
NB: the complete 2017 rules will be available from 1st week in December online – please review the rules of any events you are preparing children for:
There is a change for certain Team Panels of up to 6 participants. All Team Events listed below will incur a Team entry fee of €110. Previously the cost was €25 per person regardless of the number on the panel:
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