Groups, individuals and charities working in the voluntary sector in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to have their efforts recognised in the new Spire of Hope Awards.
These were launched by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Dr Houston, at St Anne’s Cathedral on Wednesday October 6.
Dean McKelvey said: “Over the 10 years I have been here I have met some very remarkable people who year in, year out, give tremendous service to this community in a variety of ways.
“Earlier this year I was privileged to be recognised for my public service. It was an affirmative experience. ‘The Spire of Hope Awards’ will endeavour to affirm those who are making a most worthwhile contribution to this society, and who are doing it without any monetary reward.
"Those recognised will also receive a cheque for £1,000 which will be made payable to a charity of their choice working within Northern Ireland or through an agency based there working abroad.”
The Dean continued: "Nominations will be sought in a number of categories and the first awards will be presented next February when the cheques from the annual Pre-Christmas Sitout at the Cathedral are distributed."
Nominations close on December 15. Further details and response forms on the Spire of Hope Awards will be available from October 13.
During the launch on October 6, cheques were also presented to three charities:
Christian Aid for relief work in Pakistan through its related church agencies in that country.
Rotary International for the provision of Shelter boxes in disaster areas. These boxes contain a tent, sleeping bags, a small stove and basic cooking utensils. The Dean saw them in use in Sri Lanka after the tsunami, and on news coverage of the Haiti disaster, they were one of the first visible signs of response.
The Northern Ireland Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital
The cheques were received by Lady Eames for Christian Aid; Ernest Lawson of Portadown Rotary Club and Colleen Shaw of the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
The cheques for Christian Aid and Rotary were donated in response to appeals at the Cathedral. That for the Cancer Centre was donated by people attending the funeral of former world snooker champion, Alex Higgins and the sale at the Cathedral of commemorative orders of services.