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  • Northside East

Local Girl Guide leader Helen receives top charity award

Thursday, 17th January, 2019 6:00pm
Local Girl Guide leader Helen receives top charity award

Helen Concannon (centre) pictured at the awards with Irish Girl Guides National Programme and Training Commissioner Jenny Gannon (left) and Irish Girl Guides Assistant Chief Commissioner Amanda O’Sullivan.

Local Girl Guide leader Helen receives top charity award

Helen Concannon (centre) pictured at the awards with Irish Girl Guides National Programme and Training Commissioner Jenny Gannon (left) and Irish Girl Guides Assistant Chief Commissioner Amanda O’Sullivan.

A LOCAL Girl Guide Leader was named Trustee of the Year at The Wheel’s Charity Impact Awards, which took place recently at the Mansion House.

Helen Concannon, originally from Galway, has been living in Skerries for the past 17 years during which time she has served as a volunteer Leader with River Valley Guides in Swords. 

She has been Chief Commissioner of Irish Girl Guides (IGG) since 2013 and last year set up a Brownie unit for residents of Mosney Direct Provision Centre (Brownies is the IGG branch for seven to 10-year-olds).

The Wheel – the national association of charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises – established the Charity Impact Awards to celebrate the positive impact made in communities throughout Ireland by the country’s 29,000 non-profit organisations. 

A total of 104 organisations and volunteers were nominated for the 2018 awards and over 19,000 people voted for their favourite nominees.

Ms Concannon has worked hard to ensure the organisation remains current and relevant for the youth of today. 

She has ensured IGG’s full compliance with the Governance Code for the community, voluntary and charitable sector, has overseen the development of a new award-winning website and has overseen the review and updating of all Leader resource books.

Ms Concannon is also spearheading a campaign to encourage girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and careers with over 500 IGG members having already participated in a Lego robotics initiative developed in partnership with Dublin City University. 

She has also overseen the development of a #FutureCEOs Cookie Project, which fosters business and entrepreneurial skills in girls from age five plus as they sell packets of cookies in their local communities. 

Ms Concannon developed this initiative in partnership with Dragon’s Den investor Alison Cowzer, who co-founded East Coast Bakehouse where the Irish Girl Guides’ cookies are made.

In 2016 she came up with the innovative idea of a North to South Pole Trek to see if IGG members could walk 20,000 kilometres – the equivalent of walking from the North Pole to the South Pole. 

Girls and Leaders embraced this challenge so wholeheartedly that they succeeded in hiking a total of 40,000 kilometres, so it ended up as a Global Trek!

Speaking following the award ceremony, Ms Concannon said it was an honour to be nominated and shortlisted and an absolute privilege to be selected. 

“Being a trustee has been a wonderful experience and an opportunity to give something back to the organisation that I joined as an eight-year-old Brownie,” she said. 

“I would also like to pay tribute to my fellow volunteers and staff who make my job easy by being such a wonderful team. 

“As a girl-led organisation, it is important that trustees listen to their members and respond to their needs.”

Irish Girl Guides welcomes new members from age 5+ and new volunteer Leaders from age 18+. Previous Guiding experience is not necessary. To find out more, visit www.irishgirlguides.ie or phone 01-6683898. 

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here