Spellman Awards

awards 22

The Ringsend and District Response to Drugs Annual Event took place on Thursday 15th May in the Clanna Gael Hall on Sean Moore Road, Irishtown.

Main speakers at this year’s graduation included members of the HSE, board directors from the Ringsend and District Response to Drugs, and Dublin Port Company, which has sponsored the event since the Spellman Centre was founded in 1995. Father Ivan Tonge, of St. Patrick’s Church, Ringsend, officiated.

The organisation gave presentations for those who have achieved drug-free status on the programme. This was to reward those who have remained drug-free for a year, and is in accordance with the day to day programmes run by the Spellman Centre, which include rehabilitation schemes, counselling sessions and care plans. The event saw 12 graduates from the project this year.

There was also an award given to the winner of the Alcohol Awareness Competition, an incentive that involved participation from local schools.

This year’s Spellman Soccer Tournament was contested between four local schools at Irishtown Stadium; Ringsend College, St. Patrick’s Boys School, St. Patrick’s Girls School and Catherine McAuley National School.

Local Sports Development Officer John Sweeney handed out all sports-related awards, including the Daniel Lynch Player of the Tournament Award, Clanna Gael Player of the Tournament Award and the prize for Spellman Goalkeeper of the Tournament. Bettsy 7s were the winners of this year’s senior Spellman Soccer Tournament.

awards 10The event also recognised the role that families play in the recovery of Spellman Centre clients. Some of the families of those helped by the centre were given a presentation to commemorate the support structure they provide for recovering addicts. Families play a crucial role in the buddy system, which lends emotional support to people with drug-related issues who seek to achieve permanent drug-free status.

Pat Ward, of Dublin Port Company, distributed awards to family members, and he spoke of his pride in his company’s involvement with the Spellman Centre, while congratulating the families for their commitment to their loved ones.

“Family is the corner stone of support,” Pat Ward said, and added that “Teresa Weafer is absolutely fabulous in the work that she does in the community.”

The closing speech of the evening went to Ringsend and District Response to Drugs director Tom Crilly, who thanked Pat Ward and Edel Curry of Dublin Port Company, Clanna Gael and all of those who received presentations on the night. He stressed how important participation from young people is in the RDRD’s project to raise drug awareness in the future. “Young people are part of the youth development,” he told those gathered. “You’re part of the network of friends that make up the Spellman Centre.”

The event concluded with a selection of musical performances from some young local talent. Singer Mark Maxwell sang a song entitled Day by Day, a tribute to Daniel Lynch and Dylan Lacey, who lost their lives in 2013.

Speaking to NewsFour before the event, Spellman Centre manager Teresa Weafer commented on how fantastic the response has been from the local community since the inception of the project 19 years ago, when there was very little support at the time in the area.

“I have always believed that if recovery is to happen in a community, it is the community that will do it,” she said. “We need everybody to be together on that.”

Over the years, the Spellman Centre has created a network of links with different services within the area, including the Ringsend Community Services Forum, local sports groups and Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre. Weafer believes that such a network has enabled a positive message to spread throughout the community regarding the dangers of drug use.

The programmes run by the Spellman Centre have seen many success stories over the years, with an average of 10 graduates every year. “It’s wonderful to be a part of someone’s life, of someone’s success story,” said Teresa.

Teresa was also full of praise for her staff, who remain diligent in the face of the effect that the economic downturn has had on the Spellman Centre. She saluted the work ethic and creativity shown by her staff despite cuts to programme costs, salaries, and training. “The staff here are unbelievable,” said Teresa. “I’m really proud to say that. The team are fantastic; they go beyond the call of duty.”

Pictured clockwise from top left: The staff from the Spellman Centre.
Open group discussions and counselling.
Katie and Sharon Weafer.

By Craig Kinsella