Pramerica Spirit of Community volunteers
Daniella Timperley and Niall Gosson, All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year. Image: Colm Mahady/Fennell Photography

Who are Ireland’s best young volunteers?

23 Mar 2018

The winners of the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards have received €1,000 for a charity of their choice.

Two outstanding youth volunteers from Antrim and Dublin were declared the All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year at the 2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards yesterday (22 March).

Daniella Timperley, a sixth-year student at St Louis Grammar School in Antrim, and Niall Gosson, a sixth-year student from St Joseph’s Secondary School in Dublin, were selected from hundreds of youth volunteers as the winners for their phenomenal work in their local communities.

The Spirit of Community Awards were held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin and are run in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

“Both Niall and Daniella are amazing students and inspiring role models in their local communities,” said Andrea McBride, vice-president of Pramerica Systems Ireland. “These awards are designed to shine a light on the commitment and dedication of young people in today’s society who give their free time to make their local communities a better place.”

Community work

Timperley has been involved with Women’s Aid ABCLN from a very young age, and represented the charity on the BBC Children in Need Youth Panel, helping to coordinate fundraising efforts and voicing the needs of those helped by Women’s Aid.

She has also volunteered in care homes, completed intergenerational projects with the elderly, and helped younger children at the homework club in the Ballymena centre and at the Antrim summer scheme, where she completed accredited courses in mental health, domestic violence, understanding risks and self-esteem.

Gosson volunteers with Rush Tourism, a voluntary group dedicated to putting Rush back on the tourism map in Ireland. He is also helping Fingal County Council to achieve a coastal heritage trail and a Kenure House Demesne heritage train in Rush.

Gosson coordinated an exhibition in the local library celebrating 700 years of Kenure House, and gave talks as part of Heritage Week in Ardgillan Castle, where he volunteers at events throughout the year. Outside of the heritage project, Gosson also helps out with his local park run and Scouts group, where he is a Rover leader.

Trip to Washington DC

Both students received €1,000 for a charity of their choice, a gold medallion and a crystal trophy for their school. They will also go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington DC to participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.

In addition to the two All-Ireland Youth Volunteers, the Spirit of Community Awards also awarded the top two junior honourees, Elaine Magee from Lifford and Aimee Melaugh from Derry. Both students received €500 for their chosen charity.

“All of our 2018 finalists carry out exceptional volunteer work with the ultimate goal of making the lives better of those in need,” said McBride. “It’s great to see their achievements being recognised and I look forward to hearing about their continued good work in the future.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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