November 20, 2018
Charity / Organisation associated with Hero
Wicklow Community Action Resource Centre
Period Hero has been volunteering for
15 years volunteering
Dedication of Volunteer
Sheila has been helping her community for 15 years and up until her brush with cancer five years ago had been volunteering 6 evenings a week and at least 4 mornings before heading off to her paid employment. Whatever the day or hour, if there is a person who is in trouble, homeless or vulnerable, in need of an advocate to represent them to local Councillors and services or just in need of a friendly non judgmental ear, Sheila is there for them. In the last two years she has reduced her volunteering hours to two evenings & mornings in the Resource centre but those that know her will say that she is always available to those in need in the community.
Impact made by volunteer
It is hard to quantify the amount of people she has helped over the years. She is a very kind person and has a great way with people. She will always put others first.
Currently she organises two nights of the Foodcloud deliveries to over 160 families who text in if they wish to receive a delivery 6 nights a week. Sheila receives the texts and then gathers the food from Tesco & Aldi & other donations from local growers & suppliers. The food is then divided and sorted to family/individual portions according to need by Sheila & her team of volunteers. Finally the boxes are sorted into routes for volunteer drivers to deliver. Along with the food, Sheila also identifies other needs and delivers clothes, bedding, furniture & toys to those that need it most. Sheila also manages the resource centre during the day and looks after a ladies knitting group, a men's mental health group and is regularly called by other services in the community if someone presents as homeless out of hours.
A couple of years ago Sheila nominated her volunteer colleague, Hilary Sharpe for this award which she went on to win. Both of them were so proud to bring the award to Arklow.
Creativity / Initiative / Passion showed by volunteer
She never turns anyone away and believes in helping all those that are powerless and in trouble. Sheila left school early to work and only in the last 15 years after raising her kids, went back to school and got her Diploma in Youth & Community Work followed by an Addiction Studies qualification. She developed thyroid cancer 5 years ago and 6 weeks after surgery was back at the centre and out doing food drops. She has 4 kids and 3 grandkids, a husband, 2 cats & three dogs that keep her busy the rest of the time. When she sees an issue in the community she will try to highlight it to those that have the power and resources to change things and if possible, try and do something about it in the centre. She has had a lot of struggles in life and always believes that out of negative there will come a positive. This way of thinking has got her through the tough times and made her the person she is today.