Mayo Winner at Volunteer Ireland Awards

Photo of Ann Coleman with ChildCastlebar woman, Ann Coleman, was selected as a Volunteer of the Year in the International Development category at this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards. The awards were presented at a special ceremony in City Hall, Dublin on 2nd December. 


Ann Coleman is a retired mental health nurse who won in the International Development category for her work with Chernobyl Children International. She has been working with children in the Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum for over ten years to alleviate the suffering of the thousands of children and young adults in forgotten institutions and mental asylums across Belarus and Western Russia.


Ann has been an advocate for the children in Vesnova, pushing for the transition of these children to independent living units instead of being sent to Adult Mental Asylums when they reach the age of 18. Known affectionately by the children as ‘Mama Ann’, she has fought for the children’s rights to be accepted members of the community and has pulled down the barrier of discrimination the children face by encouraging the children to become active members of the community.


Mayo Volunteer Centre congratulations Ann - hundreds of nominations were sent in and Ann clearly stood out for her dedication and commitment. Ann is a real credit to the county. Volunteers are so selfless and giving that their immense contribution often goes unnoticed. We are delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate these volunteers and above all else, say thank you for all that they do.


For more information on the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2015 or to read the inspiring stories of the nominees and winners, visit


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