Rewarding community

IT is that time of year again where the great work of people around Laois gets recognised through the Laois Community and Voluntary Awards.

IT is that time of year again where the great work of people around Laois gets recognised through the Laois Community and Voluntary Awards.

From this week, Laois Forum invites nominations from groups and individuals who are working to make their communities better places to live.

The Community and Voluntary Awards will be hosted by Laois Community Forum in association with Laois Sports Partnership, the Environment Section of Laois County Council and for the first time this year, the Leinster Express.

The Express has teamed up with Laois Forum as media partner in promoting the awards but we are also delighted to present a Person of the Year Award to compliment the Forum’s Unsung Hero award.

Nominations of groups or individuals are invited under six categories: Arts and Culture; Children and Young People; Sport and Leisure; Heritage and Environment; Community ervices and Support.

Nominations are also sought for an Unsung Hero Award for outstanding contribution by one person to community and voluntary life in their local area and/or the wider community in Laois.

The Leinster Express will present its Person of the Year award to a person who has made a major role in representing Laois locally and nationally.

In 2011 there were more than 65 nominees in six categories and 18 individuals nominated for their work in their communities.

The nominees made a significant difference by giving of time, co-operation, imagination and sheer hard work to achieve rewards of successful clubs, events and fundraising.

Groups will be judged on the following criteria:

Contribution of the group to the community

How representative the group is of the community

Level of voluntary involvement and participation

How well a groups services and/or activities are planned and delivered, and the use of innovative approaches

Positive impact of the work of the group on the local and wider community

Positive impact the work has had on the target category, i.e., arts & culture, young people, community services & support, etc.

Use of inclusive working methods, e.g., reaching out to ensure that those who most need to actually get involved/benefit from inclusion.

Future benefits to the community

Nominations must be sent by Wednesday, October 24 by 5pm to Honor Deevy, Community and Enterprise Section, Laois County Council, Aras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

Forms are available by contact on 057 86 74337/8 or by email LaoisCommunityForum@laoiscoco.ie or on www.laoiscommunityforum.ie

It is important to complete these forms with as much detail as possible as judges must go on the information that is presented to them.

Laois Community Forum’s role is the promoiion of community and voluntary groups in the decisions that affect the entire county. The Forum offers a platform to community ups to link with one another and to be involved in the development of the county, economically, socially and culturally,l.

The Forum takes part in development of policies and plans locally, having a seat on the County Development Board and on other local development organisations such as Laois Partnership Company, Laois Sports Partnership, Laois Heritage Forum and Laois Tourism.

The Forum also create links within community sector, through events of a common theme such as information sessions on charities legislation, networking days for older people, electoral area public meetings,

The Forum also tries to promote the activities of community groups, through our website www.laoiscommunityforum.ie and in other ways.

The Forum is available to assist community groups by promoting the availability of services to them and answering any queries.

They can also also here to help to starting up of new groups, through advice or information, pointing them in the right direction of what’s available to them.