A NUN who set up a support service for children affected by grief from death, divorce and separation has seen a huge increase in demand for their voluntary services.
Sr Helen Culhane, who is based in Limerick city, set up the Children’s Grief project three years ago, which is greatly in demand with over 30 children on its waiting list.
People are travelling from up to 60 miles away to avail of its services, for children and families experiencing grief.
Sr Helen was one of three Limerick people nominated for a Volunteer Ireland Award recently, and was one of two Limerick people to win their categories.
She was nominated by Michelle Walsh, who said: “I always ask Helen, what do you get out of it? She says, ‘after a couple of sessions when a child leaves my office happy and excited and looking forward to their future again, I know my job is done and that is enough for me.’”
In all there were 11 people from across the country presented with an award in Dublin City Hall, hosted by RTE presenter Claire Byrne.
“These outstanding women have devoted large amounts of personal time and energy on a voluntary basis to improving life in the local community. They have demonstrated a strong sense of social justice and worked both hard and smartly to ensure that the community receives real and lasting benefit,” said Paul Moriarty, of the Limerick volunteer centre.
Limerick resident Jacqueline O’Driscoll was presented with an award in the animals and environment award, after she co-founded Limerick Feral Cats a decade ago. Limerick volunteer Sinead Carey, who appeared earlier this year in The Secret Millionaire programme on RTE, was also shortlisted in the social work category for helping the homeless through the soup kitchen in the city.
The volunteer of the year award went to Jacqueline McAuley, a midwife from county Antrim and a volunteer with VSO Ireland, whose work in Ethiopia had a lasting effect on patients and staff.