Co Antrim and Co Dublin students named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year

6 February 2018

Students honoured at 2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards

Two outstanding youth volunteers from Randalstown in Co Antrim and Rush in Co Dublin have been announced as the winners of the 2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, the only all-Ireland youth initiative of its kind, which recognises young people for their motivation, service and impact on their local communities.

Daniella Timperley, a sixth-year student at St Louis Grammar School and Niall Gosson, a sixth-year student from St Joseph's Secondary School were selected from hundreds of youth volunteers and recognised for the exemplary work in their local community at an awards’ ceremony, held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Both students received €1,000 for a charity of their choice, a gold medallion and a crystal trophy for their school. In late April, Daniella and Niall will travel on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. to meet up with youth volunteers from across America and participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.

Daniella who has been involved with Women's Aid ABCLN from a very young age, represented the charity on the BBC Children in Need Youth Panel helping to co-ordinate fundraising efforts and voicing the needs of those helped by Women’s Aid. Daniella has also volunteered in care homes, completed intergenerational projects with the elderly, helped at the homework club in the Ballymena centre with the younger children and at the Antrim summer scheme where she completed OCN Accreditations in mental health, domestic violence, understanding risks and self-esteem.

Niall volunteers with Rush Tourism, a voluntary group dedicated to putting Rush back on the tourism map in Ireland as well as Fingal County Council to achieve a coastal heritage trail and a Kenure House Demesne heritage train in Rush. Working throughout his transition year, Niall dedicated his time to raising funds to start the heritage trail by selling commemorative mugs and following meetings with the council heritage boards and maps are now in place in the town to highlight the routes. Niall also coordinated an exhibition in the local library celebrating 700 years of Kenure House and gave talks as part of Heritage Week in Ardgillan Castle, where he volunteers at events throughout the year. As well as working on the tourism heritage project, Niall also helps at his local Park Run and a with his local Scouts group where he is a rover leader.

“Both Niall and Daniella are amazing students and inspiring role models in their local communities,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “These awards are designed to shine a light on the commitment and dedication of young people in today’s society who give their free time to make their local communities a better place. All of our 2018 finalists carry out exceptional volunteer work with the ultimate goal of making the lives better of those in need. It’s great to see their achievements being recognised and I look forward to hearing about their continued good work in the future.”

The awards which are run in partnership with The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI), this year also awarded the top two Junior Honourees Elaine Magee from Lifford and Aimee Melaugh from Derry~ Londonderry who received an additional €500 for their chosen charity.

The selection committee that chose the two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year were: Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland, Clive Byrne, director of NAPD, David Canning, chairperson of GTCNI, Denise Hayward, chief executive of Volunteer Now, Sean Campbell, CEO of Foróige, and Kieran Cody, Scouting Ireland.

For more information about the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, which is supported by Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland and Scouting Ireland, follow the Pramerica Spirit of Community Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter feed and Snapchat or visit spirit.pramerica.ie

The 2018 finalists included:
Áine Sweeney, from Letterkenny, a fifth-year student at Loreto Secondary School
Aimee Melaugh, from Derry~Londonderry a fourth-year student at St. Mary’s College
Anna Phelan, from Kilkenny, a sixth-year at Loreto Secondary School
Ariadna Gómez-Kelly, from Westport, a fourth-year student at Sacred Heart School
Caoimhe Bennett, from Omagh, a sixth-year student at Loreto Grammar School
Ciana Roberts, from Bangor, a sixth-year student at Our Lady & St Patrick's College
Ciaran McGinley, from Derry, a fifth-year student at St Joseph's Boys' School
Ciaran O'Kane, from Limavady is a sixth-year student at Loreto College, Coleraine
Diolain Ward, from Derry, a sixth-year student from St Joseph's Boys' School
Daniella Timperley, from Randalstown, a sixth-year student at St Louis Grammar School
Éabha McMahon, from Cork, a sixth-year student at St Angela's College Cork
Eimear Byrne, from Dublin, a sixth-year student from St Pauls Secondary School
Elaine Magee, from Raphoe, a fourth-year student at The Royal and Prior School
Grace Mawhinney from Belfast, a sixth-year student at St. Louise’s Comprehensive College
Jessica McMahon, from Kildare, a sixth-year student at St Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge
Michael Carroll, from Tipperary, a sixth-year student at Borrisokane Community College Borrisokane
Niall Gosson, from Rush, a sixth-year student from St Joseph's Secondary School
Orlagh Wilson, from Derry, a sixth-year student at St Cecilia's College
Rebecca McKersie from Belfast, a sixth-year student at Ashfield Girls’ High School
Shane Lawless from Galway, a fifth-year student at Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Carnmore