Newtownabbey volunteers celebrated at Guide Dog Awards

Diane Marks was a runner-up in the Dedicated to Superior Quality category. (Submitted Picture).
Diane Marks was a runner-up in the Dedicated to Superior Quality category. (Submitted Picture).

The amazing efforts of Guide Dogs NI volunteers in Newtownabbey and the wider East Antrim area have been recognised at a special awards ceremony in Belfast hosted by the society.

The awards categories were based around Guide Dogs’ values and members of the Society living in Newtownabbey were among the winners and runners-up in a number of categories each of which was based around Guide Dogs’ values.

Brenda Stevenson from Ballyclare was announced the winner in the ‘Trustworthy’ category centred on a volunteer who is “always honest and genuine and celebrates Guide Dogs in an open and positive way”.

Diane Marks from Newtownabbey was a runner-up in the category for Dedicated to Superior Quality centred on a volunteer who “maintains a high standard in their role and others value their expertise. Their work benefits our service users”.

And, Vicky Kyle from Larne was a runner up Maximising Impact for the “volunteer makes every penny count and is mindful of the generosity of the public and time given by other volunteers. They are committed, reliable and get the job done”.

Guide Dogs’ aim is for a society in which people who are blind and partially-sighted enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.

The charity really values the contribution and commitment of all their volunteers, including around 350 in Northern Ireland, in helping to make this aim a reality.

Their volunteers carry out a huge range of different roles, from office support to puppy walking, fundraising to sighted guiding.

Volunteer Awards are specially organised each year to highlight the fantastic contributions made by these dedicated volunteers.

As part of UK Volunteers’ Week Guide Dogs NI hosted an awards ceremony and gala lunch at the Duncairn Complex in north Belfast last month.

The local winners in each category will now be considered for shortlisting in the charity’s Annual People Awards held in November.

According to the Society, the work of Guide Dogs has never been so vital.

In the United Kingdom today, almost two million people are living with sight loss and of those, around 180,000 rarely leave their homes alone and many suffer from depression and struggle with feelings of isolation.

To find out more about Guide Dogs, get involved in fundraising or volunteering, visit www.guidedogsni.org.uk or through social media via Facebook: guidedogsNI; Twitter: @guidedogsni; Instagram: @guidedogsni