Volunteers who selflessly gave their time to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic were honoured at a special recognition event held at Cork County Hall on Thursday.
The event, which coincided with National Volunteer Week 2022, was led by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, manager of the Cork Volunteer Centre, Adam Lacy and chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey and was attended by more than 120 guests.
Speaking at the event, the County Mayor lauded how quickly communities, groups and individual volunteers came together in March of 2020.
"They ensured that the most vulnerable and those in need received support despite the risk posed by the virus.
"They queued outside supermarkets picking up the weekly shopping for neighbours, they delivered food parcels, fuel and meals-on-wheels, and became a vital lifeline for those who were cocooning or living alone," she continued.
The ceremony was part of a series of nationwide events held by local authorities to promote and highlight the unique value and contribution of volunteers to Irish society.
Local authorities, Public Participation Networks and volunteer organisations were asked to nominate the people from their communities who made a contribution during the pandemic through a dedicated Volunteer Ireland nomination web portal established by Minister of State in the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’ Brien.
A wide range of nominations were received on behalf of individuals and groups including sports clubs, meals on wheels, branches of the Red Cross and Civil Defence.
The event also included representatives from Cork County Council’s Covid-19 Community Support Programme, a multi-agency forum bringing together representatives of both statutory and voluntary agencies operating across Cork County, established early in the pandemic to provide commitment and consistency in terms of service delivery for those most in need.
Manager of the Cork Volunteer Centre Adam Lacy joined Ms Coughlan in presenting special commemorative pins and letters of recognition to the nominated volunteers on Thursday evening.
"We applaud all volunteers for their efforts through these trying times, and our thanks go to Cork County Council, and the Department of Rural and Community Development for recognising the efforts of these worthy volunteers," he said.
Chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said the council's Covid-19 Community Support Programme was "incredibly effective" throughout the pandemic.
"It brought together a wide variety of statutory and voluntary groups in County Cork to help those in need in a collaborative and targeted way.
"Almost 10,000 requests were made to the support programme with people looking for assistance with collecting groceries, meals, medical and health needs, social isolation and delivering library books," he said.
"The volunteers who answered the call and stepped up were central to its success and once again shows what can be achieved when we all work together."