Two Donegal women nominated for National Volunteer Awards

Two Donegal women have been shortlisted for a prestigious national awards.

Sharon Clarke and Sinead Kelly have been nominated for Volunteer Ireland Awards.

Over one million people in Ireland volunteer and these awards aim to say thank you for the hard work and dedication of volunteers across the country.

With volunteers ranging from age 16 to 86 from 18 counties, this year’s shortlist is a showcase of the breadth and depth of volunteering in Ireland. From community shops to sports clubs to befriending, volunteers have a major impact on communities across Ireland every day.

Sharon Clarke has volunteered with STEPS for five years and is passionate about helping to promote awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) among young people in Donegal and Derry.

Sharon works full time in Seagate Technology, Derry, where she has lead and encouraged an entire team of STEM ambassadors to reach out to schools, running fun and educational activities for all the kids, giving them the chance to be creative and experience engineering.
Sharon has also shown initiative by recognizing the need for female engineers to be supported throughout all stages of life, even at career level, and she was involved in setting up a women’s group in her workplace (which is over 90% male dominated).

Four years ago Raphoe Town FC had less then 10 girls playing football. Then Sinead Kelly set up a Soccer Sisters Programme to try to get girls back to play and enjoy the game. Although numbers were small, Sinead persevered and eventually entered girls teams at U10, U12 and U14 level.

Sinead has positioned the club in the heart of the community building strong and positive links with local schools and clubs and making an impact in local community initiatives. Despite being a mother of four young children with a daughter in college and a husband who suffered a bad workplace accident and is still recovering, Sinead’s dedication has never waned.

According to Donegal Volunteer Centre Manager John Curran “It is always heartening to see the sheer amount and variety of volunteering that goes on throughout Ireland. The shortlist provides just a snapshot of our strong culture of volunteering in Ireland and it is great to have Donegal represented by Sharon and Sinead on the national stage. I’d like to congratulate them both and all of those on the shortlist – the difference you make to our communities cannot be overstated.”

The eleventh Volunteer Ireland Awards take place on Friday 7th December in the Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Shortlisted nominess along with their family and friends will be treated to a night of celebration where the winners in each category and Ireland’s Volunteer of the Year for 2018 will be announced.

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