Over the past two weeks Clean Coasts have honoured winning groups, individuals, communities and businesses who have won an Ocean Hero Award for outstanding work and commitment to their coastlines and areas.
Each year, the Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006. Being Ireland’s foremost community-based coastal education programme, the Clean Coasts programme can count on the work of over 1,800 volunteer groups and over 37,000 volunteers. The involvement and support of the whole community are essential to the work of Clean Coasts and the Ocean Hero Awards is an award thought to recognise the invaluable contribution volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving the Irish coastline.
It has been an unusual year, and, like everyone, Clean Coasts and their volunteers have had to adapt. The continued support, engagement, and interest from the many Clean Coasts volunteers around the country has been outstanding, showing dedication and resilience through these testing times. Clean Coasts understands that it was not possible for everybody to take part in clean-up activities this year and for some it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to get out to those places that they love and normally care for. Nonetheless, there is great value in sharing examples of the creative solutions that groups have come up with to inspire us all to look ahead to the new year. In an effort to recognise the growth of our volunteer groups, the number of Ocean Hero categories have expanded to include ten categories in 2021.
This year saw Lidl’s Dublin Offices win first place in the corporate volunteer awards category for their various CSR clean-ups undertaken throughout 2021. The company have completed numerous Corporate Volunteering days in 2021 and their commitment to cleaning up various coasts and waterways in Dublin such as Seapoint, Poolbeg and Killiney beach is inspiring to see.
Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts Manager said: “I would like to congratulate all of the Ocean Hero Awardee, our shortlist and winners are incredibly inspiring volunteers, groups and communities that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting Ireland’s coastal environment. The Clean Coasts programme’s Ocean Hero Awards have been celebrating the incredible efforts of volunteers around the Irish Coastline since 2006. Although 2021 has been challenging at times it has been an incredible year for Clean Coasts and our network has grown so much and shown an incredible amount of dedication and care for our beaches, coastline, marine life and oceans. We were delighted to have received so many inspirational nominations that show not only the true dedication of these coastal custodians, but also that their efforts don’t go unnoticed by the community.”