Two SVP NI volunteers have been recognised by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for their outstanding work within their local communities.
At a special virtual awards ceremony co-hosted by former Council Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey, and entertainer David Meade, Hugh McShane of St Joseph’s SVP NI and Noel Mussen of St Mary’s SVP NI accepted their awards in the comfort of their living rooms in the Community / Voluntary category.
Speaking of the award for St Joseph’s SVP NI in Newry, Hugh McShane said: “Our members have really risen to the challenge of providing visitations and being at the end of the helpline 24/7 for those in need.
“It was an honour to be able to accept the award on behalf of St Joseph’s and by streaming the awards ceremony live on social media, the local people of Newry were able to join in the celebration. Without their generosity we simply couldn’t do the work we do.
“From the beginning of the crisis we were working with the community to respond to their requests to offer immediate help and this immediacy was of great benefit to the local people in need of assistance. Some were shielding and needed us to bring them food, some needed help with heating and electricity, we provided food vouchers to others and we were even able to offer some who were moving house help with white goods. We have also been able to offer advice on money management and our helpline and new facebook page have been an essential way for people to keep in contact with us.
“Receiving the Civic Community Award virtually was a new experience and a good experience and I was honoured to accept it on behalf of everyone at St Joseph’s.”
Councillor Charlie Casey said: “This is sterling work and I want to congratulate Hugh and his colleagues at SVP NI for the work they do. They do great outreach. They reach out to new nationals who arrive on our shores.”
Another member of SVP NI was recognised for his 30 plus years volunteering within the local community. Noel Mussen is one of the founding members of St Mary’s SVP NI in Burren which formed 9 years ago and his Community / Voluntary award specifically recognised his outstanding work in the Burren community.
On presenting Noel with his award virtually, Councillor Charlie Casey said: “An unsung hero of our community. People who for the love of it contribute so much and give up so much time for the benefit of others. I’m presenting Noel with this crystal to acknowledge the work he is doing and has done.”
Noel said that when David Meade was reading out the details of the volunteering that Noel has been involved in over the years he could not believe he was talking about him. “I just didn’t realise I’d been involved in so much because I just got on with it and it didn’t cost me a thought. I’m absolutely thrilled to bits with this award and I appreciate it very, very much.”