Volunteers celebrated for inspirational work
A glittering awards ceremony has been held in Castlereagh for honouring the service and dedication in helping others in the Borough.
Almost 50 individual volunteers and volunteering group were formally recognised for their valuable commitment and contribution at a ceremony held at La Mon Hotel and Country Club.
Volunteers who attend the ceremony, hosted by comedian Tim McGarry, were presented with a certificate on stage before a surprise performance from Camoflage Singing Waiters.
Speaking at the event the Mayor of Castlereagh, Councillor David Drysdale said: "Volunteering plays a vital role within the Castlereagh area and I am continually overwhelmed by the amount of volunteers who freely give up their time to help others within our communities.
"It is a great honour for Castlereagh Borough Council to host the Mayor's Awards for Volunteering and recognise the wide range of voluntary work taking place across the Borough.
"The event is an opportunity to pay tribute to many of these unsung heroes whose commitment and efforts have made a real difference to the lives of people in the community.
"By showcasing their experience, I hope others will be inspired to volunteer and continue to grow the sector within Castlereagh."
The Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland who also attended the event added: "Volunteers give thousands of hours of their free time every year and it is very important that we nurture this important sector by making it easier for people to donate their time and help create the kind of society in which we all want to play a part.
"Volunteering can also plays an important role in giving people a sense of purpose and fulfilment, the opportunity to build new friendships while playing an active role in their community and the chance to do something worthwhile that they enjoy."
The Young Volunteer of the Year 2013 was Catherine Meaney, the Creative Volunteer of the Year 2013 was Colin Maxwell, Community Relations and Cultural Diversity Award 2013 was William Duddy.
The Killynure Community Association weon the Supporting Volunteer Award (Small Group) 2013 and the Supporting Volunteer Award (Large Group) 2013 was won by Lagan Valley Regional Park Volunteers.
Adult Volunteer of the Year went to Indira Laugee.
Catherine Meaney, who won the young volunteer award has been volunteering for three years with Brooklands Youth Centre and has mentored young people through active citizenship programmes and health educational projects.
She gives up an average of 16 hours per week and has been instrumental in organising activities and projects that enable young people to make friends, learn new skills and have fun in a safe and welcoming environment.
Colin Maxwell, who won the Creative volunteer award has volunteered as a dance instructor for the past 26 years within the Castlereagh area, creating opportunities for young people to learn new skills in dance and performance whilst promoting health and fitness throughout the Borough.