Inishowen social entrepreneur Helen Nolan has been named as Donegal’s only finalist in the People’s Choice Awards.

Helen, the CEO of Spraoi agus Spórt, has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Charity Leadership category. Donegal people are being asked to get online and vote this week to help her scoop the overall prize.

Helen Nolan is one of three friends who co-founded Spraoi agus Spórt 13 years ago, along with Louise Grant and Ailbhe Hickey. The trio saw a lack of activities for stay-at-home mums and dads to do with their children. In addressing that gap, they identified that there was a whole gap in terms of the provision of other services in our local community.

Spraoi CEO Helen Nolan says the awards are about excellence in the charity sector and a win would “show how much support we have from our community.”

“We are up against some leading national charities in these awards, which are run by Charities Institute Ireland,” says Helen. “So, we need all the votes we can get before voting closes on Tuesday 10th October!”

“We have come a long way since we started out as a parent and toddlers group in 2010. Today, we are both a social enterprise and a registered charity and we run over 60 activities to suit all age groups and abilities.  Over 700 people take part in our activities every week and over 100 people are involved in our work as board members, staff, special needs assistants, volunteers and facilitators.”

Helen says their mission is “to provide affordable and inclusive opportunities, activities and experiences for children and families. We build for a better future by making a positive impact on physical and mental health and boosting the local economy.”

Since 2011, they have also secured over 22 awards and accreditations for their work. So why does this one mean so much? Helen says it’s about getting recognition for the work that goes on at local and community level in the regions.

“We believe rural areas area deserve as much as urban ones, and we’re committed to providing the highest quality of service to support our community. We also want to act as a model for other communities across the country to show them what can be achieved.”

To support them, go to this page People’s Choice Award 2023 . Then vote for Helen Nolan, Spraoi agus Spórt, in the Excellence in Charity Leadership category.

You can also support the voting campaign by following Spraoi on social media and Sharing their posts to encourage others to vote. You can find them on Facebook at on Twitter at @SpraoiSport  and on Instagram at @spraoiagussport