IWA Volunteer Awards 2017

IWA Volunteer Awards 2017

The IWA Volunteer Awards 2017 was an opportunity for IWA members, service users, staff, supporters, friends and family to celebrate all that our 2,300 registered volunteers contribute to IWA and to also recognise and thank those individuals who give their time, energy and enthusiasm freely to IWA and to the benefit their local community.

The awards were presented by Brian Hurley, Irish TV Presenter and Producer, at a Gala Awards Ceremony in the INEC Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Award Winners

1. IWA BRANCH of the Year Winner: IWA Carlow Branch

IWA is supported by 32 voluntary branches throughout the country who support local services and work to improve the lives of IWA members through social and recreational activities, fundraising, community initiatives and accessible transport.

Carlow Branch, were acknowledged for their 40 years’ of hard work, dedication and commitment, making a huge, practical difference to many people with physical disabilities in their area. By working alongside the local IWA Centre they ensure that the centre is a hub for IWA and a vital part of the community by promoting inclusivity and raising awareness about disability issues. This was demonstrated by fundraising €33,000, providing for members’ holidays in IWA’s Cuisle Centre, daytrips and social events, as well as accessible transport and upgrading of Carlow ROC reception area.

2. IWA SERVICE Volunteer of the Year John Conroy

IWA recognises the incredible importance of volunteers who work closely alongside IWA’s range of services in our Charity Shops, Holiday Centres, Offices and Resource and Outreach Centres whose work is truly invaluable.

This year’s winner of the ‘Service Volunteer of the Year Award’, John Conroy, is known to all his friends in IWA as a quiet and unassuming, good humoured gentleman always willing to assist members, volunteers and staff. Not alone does he volunteer driving the IWA bus, he has also built flowerbeds for members’ garden projects and was responsible for the recent facelift of his local Lucan IWA Centre. His friends say that “his ability to make people smile has a real impact and contributes”, in no small part, “to building a centre and culture that is warm, welcome and full of laughter”.

3. IWA YOUNG Volunteer of the Year Winner: James Haberlin

Central to the activities of IWA is the dedication of our young volunteers who have a huge influence on the direction of the organisation. The energy and enthusiasm of those in the 18 – 35 age group volunteering in our branches, day centres and offices around the country, fundraising and supporting the national ‘Angels’ campaign. IWA celebrates the 2017 winner of the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’, James Haberlin. A committed man, of whom it is said, ‘No’ is not part of his vocabulary”, He has volunteered with the Carlow Branch and ROC for over 10 years. As a great ambassador for IWA, his “sunny disposition, smile and kind word for everyone” continues to motivate the fundraising team, whose collections fund members’ trips away, including to see Celtic.

4. IWA STAFF Volunteer of the Year Winner: Robbie Hurr

The 2,500 employees of IWA, Ireland’s leading representative organisation and service provider for people with disabilities, also volunteer their free time to IWA services enabling members to have greater access to their communities and facilitating opportunities through trips, activities and programmes and never fail to do so when called upon.

This year’s IWA Staff Volunteer winner is Robbie Hurr, whose flexibility with time and tasks, positivity and willingness to go the extra mile is a prime example of our staff volunteers whose extra efforts contribute the culture of the Association and what it is today, and which inspire our members to continue breaking boundaries.

Robbie has been an IWA employee for 9 years working tirelessly with members in the North-East, Laois and Leitrim to see their own potential and achieve their own independence. Working with IWA-Sport he was central to the Ardee Sports Project organising sporting programmes which are now an intrinsic part of each IWA Centre nationwide. He organised the ‘National Boccia Championship’ last year and developed the ‘Strong Kids’ Wheelchair Basketball Team’ in the North-East. Espousing the opposite to, “it can’t be done”, he has also influenced members to participate in Wheelchair Ice-Skating, Paintballing and Orienteering.

5. IWA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Betty Lawler

IWA was founded in 1960 by 10 wheelchair users and has grown immensely in both membership and volunteer numbers. Remaining committed to enhancing and improving the lives of people with disabilities throughout Ireland this award recognises those individuals who have dedicated incalculable hours, and in many cases, years and decades to supporting IWA.

Such has been her outstanding commitment, enthusiasm and continued contribution to the development of vital services and support to members in Carlow over 30 years that the 2017 ‘IWA Lifetime Achievement Award’ winner, is Betty Lawler. She generously gives her time and energy enabling so many people with disabilities to pursue their goals and ambitions in life across a wide range of activities and initiatives and even though retiring from IWA over two years ago she continues to play an active role as voluntary secretary of the Carlow Branch.

6. IWA Corporate Volunteer of the Year Winner: DPD Ireland

The support given to IWA by national and regionally based organisations and businesses enables IWA to continue to provide its services integrating people with disabilities as equal, independent and participative members of their communities and society in almost every county in Ireland.

Their contributions can take the form of staff volunteering and sharing their skills, developing projects or participating in IWA fundraising and on-site facilities, or other benefits in kind. This year’s winners, DPD Ireland, provide IWA with a courier service free of charge. This greatly contributes to the success of IWA’s National Angel Campaign whose funds are essential to our services across the country. They also support IWA’s online Wheelchair Solutions business by transporting merchandise to customers nationwide

Overall IWA Volunteer of the Year 2016 Winner: Robbie Hurr

An independent judging panel had the difficult task of selecting winners of the relevant categories. They also had the challenge of selecting the overall winner of the IWA Volunteer of the Year Awards already announced.

For his generosity with his time, tireless work, his never-say-never attitude and willingness to go the extra mile inspiring and motivating members and staff alike the winner of this year’s ‘Overall IWA Volunteer of the Year’ goes to Robbie Hurr.