More than 70 individuals and voluntary organisations from across the Lisburn Castlereagh area were recognised at the Mayor’s Community Awards 2017.
Guests at the gala event in the La Mon Hotel included HM The Queen’s representative, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Freddie Hall OBE DL, along with representatives from the council’s partner organisations in the awards, Volunteer Now, the Education Authority and the South East Health & Social Care Trust.
Musical entertainment was provided by the very talented Belfast Community Gospel Choir and the compére for the evening was Gary Wilson.
The Mayor’s Community Awards acknowledged all nominees with a certificate of recognition for their invaluable contribution within local communities. The following category winners also received a trophy:
• Brian MacDowell Life-Long Commitment Award - Robert Rea, Brooklands Youth Centre
• Young Champion of the Year Award - Matthew Cooper, Dromara Youth Group
• Team Spirit Award - Lisburn & Castlereagh Citizens Advice
• Arts & Culture Award - Peter Johnston, Moneyreagh Community Association
• Bringing Communities Together Award - Adrian Bird, Resurgam Trust
• Fundraiser of the Year Award - Steven Thompson
• Community Impact Award - Cedar Inclusion Matters
• Office Bearer of the Year Award - Julie-Ann Jackson, Seymour Hill & Conway Residents’ Group.
Reflecting on the successful event, the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE said: “All our nominees, nominators and guests enjoyed the evening and I was very pleased to host this event which acknowledged the outstanding work undertaken by the voluntary and community sector in the Lisburn Castlereagh area.”
This year the council received award nominations from all different sectors within in the Lisburn Castlereagh area including: community, health and well-being, active lifestyles, faith based, education, counselling and listening, environmental, conservation, supporting people with disabilities, women’s, men’s and youth groups, arts, sports and music.
Cllr Bloomfield continued: “The scheme was refreshed this year to recognise the hard work and dedication of all those working within our communities, as well as those who give up their time to volunteer. It is the selfless work of these individuals and organisations that help to build communities and make the lives of people of all ages better.
“It has been inspirational to see the amount of work that goes on within our communities and the valuable, constructive impacts that these deeds have had across so many areas of need throughout the council area.”
The Mayor thanked the council’s partners - the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Volunteer Now and the Education Authority - for their input into the Awards which, he said, demonstrated great inter-agency working.
Praising the district’s “unsung heroes” for their efforts, Councillor Tim Morrow, Chairman of the council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, commented: “The council operates this awards scheme through its Community Services Section to give back to local individuals and groups within the council area and to publicly acknowledge all the good work they do either at home or in the community. Without these unsung heroes there is a lot of valuable work that would not take place in the Lisburn Castlereagh area and it is a privilege for the council to honour the dedication of local individuals and groups.”
Following the success of this year’s event, the council has confirmed that the Mayor’s Community Awards will return in 2018.