Cork city projects scoop top prizes at all-Ireland community awards

Cork city projects scoop top prizes at all-Ireland community awards

Blarney/Tower Community Response Forum Team. Blarney Village and environmental group SHEP Earth Aware and Elders for Earth won top prize in their categories at annual Pride of Place community awards on Saturday evening.

Cork city's Blarney Village and environmental group SHEP Earth Aware and Elders for Earth won top prizes in their categories at the annual Pride of Place community awards on Saturday evening.

Pride of Place is an all-island competition that recognises improvements made by local communities to create civic pride in their area. 

The competition focus is about people coming together to shape, change and enjoy all that is good about their area.

This year the award ceremony took place online due to the current restrictions. 

Hosted by Marty Morrissey, 6,000 people logged in from across Ireland to see the results.

Blarney Village took the top spot in the 'Urban Neighbourhoods with a Population under 3,000' category with judges praising them for developing "a very caring community, with fantastic volunteers, where a very impressive list of activities was presented". 

SHEP’s efforts to improve awareness on climate change were praised for telling, "a persuasive story of climate chaos, climate justice, intergenerational justice and loss of biodiversity thanks to the efforts of their volunteers". 

They took the top spot in the 'Community Climate Action Initiative' category.

Elsewhere, Ballincollig came runners up in the 'Urban Neighbourhoods with a Population over 3,000' to Donnybrook in Dublin and The Hut Youth & Community Resource Centre in Gurranabraher were runners up in the 'Creative Place Initiative' category to Galway’s Westside Arts Festival.

Also pipped to the post was South Side Youth Forum, who lost out to Lisburn’s Damask Community Outreach programme in the 'Community Youth Led Initiative' category.

Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 18 years ago through a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.

It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the Island of Ireland.

President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland with Queen Elizabeth II, said the awards played an important role.

"The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances," he said. 

Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said the awards "remain as important as ever" after 18 years.

"They are about recognising and celebrating the extraordinary, inspirational tireless work being done by communities all over the Island of Ireland as they strive to make their place a better place in which to live," he said. 

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