Two outstanding local women have been recognised for their roles with the Donegal Centre for Independent Living.

Aisling Hunter and Pauline Larkin both received end of year awards for their care and leadership in the community for people with disabilities.

A large number of nominees were celebrated at the DCIL Christmas Party in the Radisson Blu Letterkenny on Thursday night.

Aisling Hunter won PA of the Year for assisting service user Christopher McBrearty.

PA of the Year Aisling Hunter with Christopher McBrearty and DCIL General Manager Rosaleen Bradley. Photo: Tracy Marie OutandAbout Photography

The award was presented by DCIL General Manager Rosaleen Bradley, who said:

“Aisling has been working with Christopher for quite a few years. The award is reflective of a person’s commitment to people with disabilities and their independence. We had a large number of people nominated for this, but Christopher’s nomination of Aisling won out.”

Pauline Larkin won the title of ‘Leader of the Year’. She was nominated by her PA Susan Doherty.

The Donegal Centre for Independent Living has over 100 Leaders who use the service of a Personal Assistant.

Pauline has been a Leader for the past 10 years, as she lives independently with her husband Frank.

PA Susan Doherty with Leader of the Year 2018 Pauline Larkin and DCIL General Manager Rosaleen Bradley. Photo: Tracy Marie OutandAbout Photography

Rosaleen commended Pauline’s exemplary achievements, saying: “A leader of the year is someone who shows great direction to their personal assistance and is a great example of living independently, having choice in their own lives and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.”

Over 140 people attended the DCIL Christmas Party, which was a unique opportunity to bring together this widespread community.

DCIL caters to around 110 people and also provides services to students in the LYIT. More than 150 are employed throughout the county of Donegal.

The centre will mark its 20th anniversary in 2019.

Rosaleen adds: “Celebrating the organisation is something we are hoping to do next year, we have been in operation since 1999 and started from humble beginnings. Now we cover so many services all over the county.”

Rosaleen added a huge congratulations to the 2018 award winners and nominees, and a special thanks to photographer Tracey Marie, who volunteered her time to cover the event.