Just last month our secretary received information on how to nominate someone for the volunteer of the year awards from a colleague. Initially this was dismissed due to the fact that in a job like this we all know so many people who volunteer their time and energy for the betterment of others that it’s virtually impossible to make a choice…

A few days later the thought occurred to our secretary that actually she did know someone who fit the bill and ticked all the boxes big time. That someone just happens to be our very own Chairperson; Frances Walsh. This is what she wrote on the nomination form:

Frances Walsh is one of the founding members of the Offaly Dyslexia Group, which was set up when four parents were told that their child has dyslexia. 5 years ago children with dyslexia in the midlands had no support locally. Parents of children with dyslexia had nowhere to turn to for help.

Frances successfully secured the grant aid which allowed the Group to offer literacy workshops over two terms of 13 weeks for the past three and half years. This money also allows the Group to offer a support line for parents; manned by Frances on a full time basis. The group now has 30 children & 9 tutors, and is rapidly growing. We always have a waiting list.

As part of her diploma in Community Development Practice, Frances wrote a feasibility study investigating the need for similar support in the adult community. As a result Offaly VEC Adult Education Centre is now providing workshops, in conjunction with the group, for adults with dyslexia.

Pauline Price nominated Frances, Pauline said “Members of the group are realising the benefits of attending workshops in many ways, their self esteem is boosted, social skills & behavior better & their academic performance has noticeably improved! Without Frances’ tireless efforts people with dyslexia in the Midlands would continue to be marginalised; they now have a future that they can look forward to and enjoy.”

A few days passed and Pauline decided that she ought to tell Frances about the nomination, just in case! Frances was stunned. She’d realised that there was a lot of texting going on between her husband David and Pauline, but wasn’t sure what was going on. Needless to say, Frances was shocked at the very thought of being nominated…

Well, imagine our surprise when Frances received a telephone call from Volunteer Ireland informing her that she was indeed one of the nominees who’d been shortlisted to receive an award. So taken aback was Frances that she promptly burst into tears! This being the case please click on the logo below to read more about the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2012:

 Needless to say, we’re all very excited about this turn of events and can’t wait to find out just who will be awarded the coveted title of Volunteer of the Year 2012.

First of all, however, we’re going to have to dust off our glad rags as David Walsh and Pauline Price accompany our Volunteer of the Year nominee to the gala awards ceremony on December 5th where the overall winner will be chosen from 31 nominees, each of whom have equally amazing stories to tell.

Watch this space for more news on this exciting story and keep an eye out for further information in your local and national newspapers, tv and radio…