Co-operation Ireland Pride of Place Awards: Sailortown and Dundonald Art Corridor scoop honours at all-Ireland gala ceremony
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Volunteers working to keep the name of Belfast’s Sailortown alive and an east Belfast art project triumphed at the prestigious Pride of Place community awards on Saturday evening (January 21) at a gala ceremony in Dublin.
Sailortown took top spot in the Pride of Place Awards Urban Neighbourhoods with a population under 3,000 category, with Dundonald Art Corridor the winners of the Creative Place Initiative category.
Judges called Sailortown a “unique and welcoming community” and paid tribute to the “unrelenting efforts” made by the volunteers to ensure the historic neighbourhood wasn’t forgotten.
“Apart from enjoying their visit - the pride, commitment, and dedication was palpable and left its mark on the inspired judges,” they added.
Dundonald Art Corridor was praised for overcoming hurdles to become a valuable part of civic life.
“This group has a creative and inspirational leader and what has been achieved to date with voluntary effort has been outstanding. Community engagement has been difficult here, but the judges were particularly impressed with the group’s plans for the future. This initiative of bringing accessible art to residents is starting to make things happen and is deserving of the highest praise.”
The Bawnmore area of north Belfast came runners up in the Best Housing Estate category.
The awards, hosted by RTE’s Marty Whelan, took place in in front of 400 community volunteers from across the island.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 20 years ago though a Co-operation Ireland programme to acknowledge the invaluable work undertaken by volunteers and those involved in local community development.
It has grown into the largest competition recognising community development achievements on the island of Ireland and was hosted by Dublin City Council.
President Michael D. Higgins, who is Joint Patron of Co-operation Ireland, said the awards played an important role.
“The Pride of Place awards are a most important initiative, reminding us that creating societies that are ethical and inclusive is a task for all of our citizens, of all ages and circumstances.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said; "It is 20 amazing years since the very first awards ceremony and the ethos of the awards has never changed. It continues to be about acknowledging and recognising in a meaningful manner the important caring work of all our communities as they continue their daily journey of making the path of life easier for all.”
Dr Christopher Moran, Chairman of Co-operation Ireland said: "Co-operation Ireland has no other programme that embodies the charity's ethos better than Pride of Place.
“We work to build relationships across the island and Pride of Place plays a critical role in that work. The impact the awards have had in towns and villages across the island since they started 20 years ago cannot be underestimated, and the continuing success of the awards is down to the dedicated volunteers and their love of where they live.”