Our first local hero is Helen Ryan, chairwoman of the Southern Gardens Residents' Association. The awards judges, Nationalist editor Conal O'Boyle and Talbot Carlow General Manger Ken Battigan, described Helen as "a worthy winner who has made a very positive difference to the lives of people living in her estate"
"A second mother" is how Helen Ryan has been described by Garda Ralph Holmes from the Community Policing Unit in Carlow.
Helen, as the chairperson of the Southern Gardens Residents' Association, has had plenty of experience in being a maternal figure to the students who live near her. Of the 60 houses in the estate that's situated right beside IT Carlow, about a quarter of them are rented to students. Helen, along with other members of the committee, make it their business every September to welcome new students into their fold.
While she plays down her role with the students and praises her fellow residents' committee members, Garda Ralph Holmes has no qualms in describing her pivotal role in the estate. "Helen has been instrumental in both curbing anti-social behaviour in partnership with An Garda Siochana, and looking after the students in the estate, acting almost like a second mother to them," he says.
She also clearly loves the community of Southern Gardens which has families at all stages of life. "We've a fantastic community here", Helen stresses. "It's all about working together as a team. It doesn't cost anything to be kind, and a kind word goes a long way,", she concludes.
Download our Carlow's Local Heroes Nomination Form here or see Carlow Nationalist every Tuesday!
Submit your form by email to email@example.com or post to Carlow's Local Heroes, The Nationalist, Hanover House, Hanover, Co. Carlow, Tel: 087 9423741