"Volunteering is changing, but I believe it is in the nature of people and particularly the nature of the people of Galway city to give of themselves to others, so as to make a difference."
This is the view of the Mayor of Galway, Labour city councillor, Niall McNelis, who was speaking at the 16th annual Mayor's Awards Ceremony, which took place Tuesday evening in the Galway Bay Hotel.
Mayor McNelis said people chose to volunteer for a wide variety of reasons; to get something done that otherwise would not get done or maybe for the sense of belonging to a community that it brings.
"Some people choose to volunteer for altruistic reasons; they believe in doing good and see the opportunity to volunteer as reward in itself. For some, volunteering is not a choice. They believe the work that they do must be done, has to be done, and they take the responsibility to undertake that work, as volunteers."
The Mayor Awards is a yearly ceremony by the Galway City Council that gives recognition to voluntary work by the people of Galway. Nominees are individuals resident in, or organisations based in, Galway city, and are involved in voluntary activities. Mayor McNelis met some 100 people and groups who have been nominated by their peers for voluntary contributions to present them with certificates of recognition.
The recipients were Carmel Garrett (Arts, Culture, Heritage and Cúrsaí Gaeilge Award ), in recognition of her contribution with the Galway Youth Orchestra; Carmel Mahoney (Residents’ and Local Areas Award ), for leading and supporting the residents in Oaklands and the surrounding areas; Galway Rape Crisis Centre SATU Volunteer Psychological Support (Community Service and Social Inclusion (Group ) Award ), for its commitment to supporting people at their most vulnerable; Mike Swan (Community Service and Social Inclusion (Individual ) Award ), for his continued commitment to the RNLI Galway over the last 22 years; Seamus Harlowe (Older Volunteer of the Year Award ), for his commitment to Shantalla Men's Shed; Cycle Bus (Environmental Sustainability Award ), for its dedication and commitment to improving the environment; Hiroto and Chinatsu Hakamada (Sports Volunteer of the Year Award ), for their voluntary activities in Galway Speeders Para Table Tennis; Colman McDonagh (Children and Youth Support Award ), for supporting youth activities, particularly through Foróige in Ballybane; Sara Fuller (Young Volunteer of the Year Award ), for her voluntary activities which started with Ability West through the Best Buddies College Programme. Each of the winners received a Galway Crystal trophy and a cheque for €500.