After receiving over 340 applications for this year's awards, over double from the previous year, the judges had the challenge of cutting that down to just three to four for each of the five awards and then the overall award. MC for the proceedings, Chris Dorgan noted how difficult it was for the judges and that it will be even tougher next year once the city boundary expansion takes effect after May 24th.
In the Arts, Culture and Sports Award, Mad About Cork were declared winners for the work they do to breathe life into Cork City by planting plants across the city and painting electrical boxes and derelict buildings. The community group were up against Rebel Brass and Rebel Wheelers Multi-Sports Club.
Churchfield Community Trust were awarded the Community Development and Continuing Education for their dedicated work in helping teenagers prepare for adult life by teaching them skills for the workplace. Deaf Enterprises and The Dillion's Cross Project were also shortlisted.
Blankets of Hope knit and crochet blankets for cancer patients in Cork hospitals, while also providing counselling services for those who knit the blankets. Because of their wonderful work, they were awarded the Health and Wellbeing Award. Also shortlisted for the award were Alzheimer's Society Bessboro and Mayfield Men's Shed.
The Social Inclusion, Advocacy and Guidance award was ecstatically received by Sanctuary Runners. Set up to help people in Direct Provision integrate with the people of Cork by bonding over their love of running. Sanctuary Runners overcame Cork City Centre's Citizen's Information Service, Meitheal Mara and Sunday Tea Dance to run away with the award.
Children's Leukaemia Association took the Social Services Charities and Environment Award for their work in supporting families whose children have had to go through the fight of overcoming the disease. Cork City Missing Persons Search and Recovery and Cork City Hospitals Children’s Club were also in the shortlist for the award.
The overall award was given to Meitheal Mara for the brilliant work they have been doing in Cork City since 1993. The boatyard organisation help people get qualifications in woodwork by teaching them about boat building, seamanship and more. They also take people out on to the water to sail and row.
The Lord Mayor Councillor Mick Finn thanked the winners and nominees while also encouraging those who missed out that it could be them being declared as winners next year: "It’s our opportunity to say thanks from the city to the volunteers because without them we can’t function as a community. I think everyone that was nominated, deservedly so, there can only be so many winners but there is nothing stopping those who were nominated from being nominated again next year and it just underlines the fantastic work being done in the city".