THE Cork Samaritans Prison Listening Team said that winning the Lord Mayor’s Voluntary & Community Award this week is validation for the work their organisation carries out.
Of the 65 nominated organisations across the city, the Samaritans won the overall awards for the work they do with prisoners to reduce instances of suicide and self-harm which are at much higher levels in prison than in the general population.
Hundreds of voluntary workers attended the annual ceremony in City Hall on Thursday night sponsored by the Evening Echo.
Presenting the awards, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mary Shields, said the ceremony was about giving recognition to the people being honoured.
We are so grateful for your contributions which have enriched the lives of those around you.
You are incredible role models for future generations, and I would like to say thank you on behalf of Cork City Council for everyone you have helped.
Commenting after the ceremony, Director of Cork Samaritans, Cindy O’Shea said they were absolutely delighted to win the overall award. It is a great tribute to all of our work and to the prisoners who listen to people, she said.
It’s new for us. We have been doing it for the last 18 months but it is extremely important, both to us and to the Prison and it has really made a difference to the lives of the prisoners up there.
Tom Foster, the Assistant Governor of Cork Prison, also joined Mrs O’Shea to accept the award.
We are delighted with the award and we thank the Lord Mayor and her team. The Samaritans do a fantastic job with the guys in the prison so we are accepting the award on their behalf. They are trying to change their lives but they are also trying to help others change theirs as well, he said.
Special video introductions of each of the 18 shortlisted groups were also displayed at the awards ceremony giving a background of the valuable work they do.
The other winners on the night were The Barrs Healthy Club Project in the Sports section, Friendly Call Service in the Age Friendly category, the Shandon Street Festival and Food Fair in the Arts & Culture section, the YMCA GroundFloor project in the Children & Youth Section and the Cork Carers Association in the Equality and Social Inclusion category.