Edel McLoughlin from the Vincent’s charity shop in in Bettystown was honoured for her efforts.

Bettystown woman named SVP Volunteer of the Year

Edel McLoughlin from the Vincent’s charity shop in Bettystown has won the Volunteer of the Year award in the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) North East and Midlands region.

She has been with the shop for over four years and her nomination said that 'she loves to see the shop doing well and being part of its success. She gets through the pricing of clothes so quickly she’s like wonder woman'.

Edel is pictured here receiving her award at a ceremony in Derry on Monday 20th June with Dermot McGilloway, SVP National Retail Development manager (left) and Peter Johnson SVP Retail Manager for the North East & Midlands Region.

The awards presentation followed a one-day conference which discussed how retail can be community based, help reduce poverty and operate in a real sustainable manner.

There are over 234 SVP shops throughout Ireland, trading under the ‘Vincent's’ name. Vincent’s shops are a hugely important aspect of the service SVP provides to those who seek its assistance. Not only do the shops provide goods at affordable prices and help reconnect people, disconnected by poverty, they also provide an income source for the Society, which is directed back into the local communities. Vincent’s are also committed to the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by recycling 97% of donated items.

Dermot McGilloway, SVP National Retail Development manager said, “This Conference provided the opportunity for the volunteers and staff throughout our network to reflect on the importance of Vincent’s in our communities by providing a great customer service ethic which also generate financial support to their local Conferences, and at the same time taking visible action on sustainability.

“We believe that we have taken a lead role in our sector in meaningfully promoting the circular economy and are committed to tackling the twin problems of social deprivation on the one hand and the environmental damage caused by the excessive consumption of fast fashion on the other.

The conference had an international input with the keynote speaker Dave Barringer, CEO of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in the USA. Another speaker was Richard Moore, founder and CEO of Children in the Crossfire. Moore is a motivational speaker who was blinded at the age of 10 when hit by a rubber bullet.

The mission of Children in the Crossfire is to work with others to tackle the injustices of poverty affecting children in Derry and overseas. One of his key messages was that ‘forgiveness is a gift that you give to yourself’ Also speaking was Matthew Hopkinson, managing director of Didobi, a UK based specialist on data for business and state sectors including retail.