An Armagh sports group established to support women has triumphed at the prestigious Pride of Place community awards on Friday evening (November 10) at a gala ceremony in the Armagh City Hotel.
The ‘Maidens of Macha’ are a social netball team started in 2022 and they received a Special Award from the judges who praised their inclusivity.
“Maidens of Macha is a wonderful group whose focus is on bringing women together and that uses the power of sport to enhance well-being and enrich the lives of those involved. “
Also taking home an award on the night was Lislea Community Association who took a runners-up place in the ‘Population – 0-500’ category. Lislea lost out to Hollywood Village, Wicklow.
Elsewhere, Portadown YMCA were nominated but missed out on an award.
The awards, hosted by UTV’s Pamela Ballentine, took place in in front of 400 community volunteers from across the island. The awards were delivered in partnership with Armagh, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council.
Sponsored by IPB Insurance, the Pride of Place competition was initiated 21 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.
President Michael D. Higgins, 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.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon, Alderman Margaret Tinsley, said, “We were delighted to host this year awards to celebrate and recognise the wonderful work voluntary people and organisations make to community life. Congratulations to all award winners, and thank you to everyone who played their part in organising this fantastic event.”
Pride of Place founder and Chairman Tom Dowling said, “I am very proud after 21 glorious years of celebrating so many wonderful Pride of Place communities to be at another Gala Awards night, excellently hosted by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
“All our communities recognise the importance of their place and people and are constantly seeking to make it better. These awards are now even more important as communities face ever increasing challenges and are responding to them with energy, positivity, and commitment. The communities deserve their well-earned recognition and all participants are truly winners.”
Sir Julian King, 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 two decades ago cannot be underestimated, and the continuing success of the awards is down to the dedicated volunteers and their love of where they live.
John Hogan, Chairman, IPB Insurance said. “Volunteerism is a cornerstone of community resilience and exemplifies the very spirit of mutual support and care that these Awards have championed throughout our longstanding partnership.
“By supporting these awards, we not only celebrate the remarkable individuals and groups who go above and beyond for their communities but also aim to inspire others to join in this noble pursuit of creating better, more liveable places for all.”
Thanks to The Executive Office, Good Relations District Councils Programme for their continued support.