Community organisations Mayo Volunteer Centre, Moy Valley Resources IRD and Ballina 2023 recently came together to host a summer party to say a resounding ‘Thank You’ to local volunteers for their enormous contribution to Ballina.
In Kennedy Glasgow House, The Quay, Ballina on the evening of Thursday, August 24, over 300 volunteers popped in to enjoy a barbeque, drinks and entertainment to celebrate their hard work throughout the year so far, with the support of main sponsor, Moloney’s SuperValu. A plethora of other local sponsors also donated vouchers and goodies to gift bags distributed to volunteers on the night.
Amid the party atmosphere and camaraderie, Ballina and North Mayo residents of all ages and various cultures, including members of the Ukrainian community, celebrated their volunteering efforts and reflected on the year’s work, and MC Angelina Nugent interviewed many of the volunteers about their experiences.
While 2023 marks a particularly busy year in the town, local groups, organisations and the wider community benefit on an ongoing basis from the thousands of hours contributed by volunteers, and their commitment during once-off, large scale events, as witnessed this year in the US Presidential visit to Ballina, Mayo Day, the Western People West of Ireland Women’s Mini Marathon and the recent return of Cannonball Ireland.
Lesley Moore, Manager of Mayo Volunteer Centre said: “We were delighted to see such a large turnout on the night, and it was great to see such a mix of nationalities there enjoying themselves. It was our way of saying thank you for all the wonderful work done by volunteers in the community. A massive thank you to the team at Ballina 2023 and our colleagues in Moy Valley Resources IRD for the work they put into making this event such a success, and to our local sponsors for their generous donations.”
Ms Moore continued: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of many community organisations and we have seen such strong evidence of this during 2023, whether it is supporting events, working with new communities, or keeping community groups functioning.”
Ballina 2023 Marketing Manager, Anne-Marie Flynn said: “Ballina 2023 alone has worked with over 300 volunteers so far this year, both new and experienced, and without such an incredible volunteer effort, none of our events would have been possible. Our volunteering team has been managed wonderfully by our Volunteer Co-ordinator Sheila Garvin, supported by Stuart Garland of Volunteer Ireland, who has given generously of his own time to volunteer with us this year.”
“Many new connections and friendships have formed through volunteering throughout 2023 that will leave a strong legacy for Ballina and its events in years to come, and it was important to celebrate that.” Ballina Volunteers catch up and enjoy the Summer Volunteer Thank You Party at Kennedy Glasgow House, The Quay, Ballina on 24 August 2023
Chairman of Moy Valley Resources IRD David Dwane added: “This was an important event for us to support as a community development organisation. In the Ballina region, there are many people volunteering quietly in the background and those who are very visible too, be they coaches in sports clubs or stewards at public events. People volunteer for different reasons but, whatever their reasons, their work benefits everyone in the community.”
“These unpaid volunteers are the cogs in the wheels of our localities. Without them, many of the organisations which now support the social and economic fabric of our lives could not exist. Mayo boasts the highest rate of volunteerism in Ireland, at 16.9% of the population at the last Census, and Ballina may well have the highest rate of volunteerism in Mayo!”
Local musician Dennis McCalmont provided the tunes on the night, alongside young, up-and-coming group For Folk’s Sake.
It was a fun-filled evening at the Kennedy Glasgow House and a fitting thank you to those who help to ensure a safe, successful and supported community.