Larne woman Agnes Perry has been recognised for her dedication to the community, after receiving an Early Years Volunteer Award.
Agnes, who founded Playtots 14 years ago, was awarded ‘Outstanding Volunteer at a Parent and Toddler Group’.
Her commitment to the mother and toddler group, which meets at Greenland Community Centre every Tuesday and Thursday morning during term time, has remained constant every since.
The group has developed from just four or five children at the beginning to numbers ranging from 18 to 30 in 2014.
Thanks to the endeavours of Agnes, it has also received grant aid which has enabled the purchase of new toys and paid for outings and parties.
She was nominated for the award by fellow volunteer Joanne McCallum, who said: “Agnes set up the group in 2000 with toys which had been donated. She has applied for grants and has fundraised to hold parties for the children and at Christmas invited their older brothers and sisters.”
Recently, the kids enjoyed a trip to Funky Monkeys play centre thanks to her efforts.
Willing to go the extra mile, Agnes, Joanne and Liz Gibson, a fellow Playtots volunteer, raised £500 for the group through a sponsored walk.
Commenting on the award, Agnes said: “It was nice to be recognised. I was not expecting it.”
She acknowledged the ongoing support of volunteers and her daughter Sharon who remain committed to the group.
She said that she had the idea to start the group, then in the former Greenland community hall, when she was minding a relative’s daughter.
“We started with four or five children. We have done well over the past 14 years. We have got funding from different groups and have quite a build up of toys. It has worked out very well,” she added.
Joanne indicated that she kept the nomination secret from Agnes, who was presented with the award at a ceremony in the Hilton Templepatrick, by Lady Moyra Campbell.