The Dublin City Good Citizen Awards ceremony took place in the Mansion House on the 18th May 2016. The awards acknowledge and celebrate the contribution made to Dublin city by countless hidden heroes of everyday life. Over the coming weeks, we’re presenting a profile of the winners who stood out in making a big difference to the lives of others.
Esther McGrath – Age Friendly Category
I’m Esther McGrath, I live in Donnybrook, and I’m a member of the Beech Hill Community Group. I do some volunteering with the elderly in the area.
I visit the elderly, and do their shopping for them. With a lot of people, their family live away from them, so I drop in and see if they’re all right, especially if they’re housebound. For ten years, we’ve been doing an elderly shopping trip on a Friday afternoon, a bunch of volunteers drive them there and back. I think people appreciate it. I do voluntary bingo for the senior citizens, too. I think quite a few of them nominated me.
Why do I do what I do? Because I enjoy it. In my time, I’ve seen a lot of cutbacks in home help, so you try to fill that gap as much as you can – be it doing a bit of washing, bringing the dog for a walk, or making sure their milk doesn’t go sour. People have learned to trust me over the years.
We had a local Sister of Charity, but she had an accident last year and I am the Minister of The Eucharist in the church, so I took over from her. Now we go around and visit the sick with The Host every Tuesday. That nearly takes up the whole day. We usually have a good chat with the people along the way. Often, I wouldn’t get home until 11 o’clock, we’re chatting so long.
What’s the most enjoyable part? Seeing people’s gratitude. I always say that I don’t need thanks, and I mean it. Maybe I was always a bit of a carer. My mother had Alzheimers, and I took care of her. I suppose it all started there.
I’m honoured to be nominated, and I appreciate it, but I wouldn’t really need to be nominated for anything. I’m still happy just doing my work, being a volunteer. I get great pleasure out of it. Loneliness is a big problem with people living on their own, and a half hour chat can make a big difference to a person’s day. People should always remember that.
Esther won the Dublin City Good Citizen Award in the Age Friendly Category. This category recognising the work of older volunteers, or those who provide services for older people e.g. a person who looks out for and visits an older neighbour.