Active Disability Services Awards 2023

Active Disability Services Awards Logo
Active Disability Services Awards Logo

 Active Disability Services Awards 2023

The Active Disability Services Awards have been developed to recognise and reward Disability Services throughout Ireland who have shown leadership and commitment to helping people with disabilities stay active and healthy.

Being physically active at any level is hugely important to our health and wellbeing especially for people with disabilities. Providing activities that encourage active and healthy lifestyles can greatly influence a persons mood, energy, happiness and overall wellbeing.

The awards aims to champion the innovative physical activity, health promotion and community inclusion initiatives that have arisen as a result of the service engaging with our ‘Active Healthy Me’ programme. Active Healthy Me aims to empower people with disabilities to take control of their own health & wellbeing through an online education programme, facilitated by staff within disability days services all across Ireland.

Award Categories

Please find the details and descriptions of this year’s awards categories in our Active Disability Services Awards Brochure


Judging Panel

This year’s judging panel is made up of some returning faces from the 2022 awards panel and some new faces to this year’s event.

Sinead White Headshot

Sinead White – Active Disability Ireland Board Member

Returning judge Sinead sits on the Board of Active Disability Ireland. Sinéad is Head of Central Shared Services in VHI Healthcare and over 20 years’ experience working in the Finanace, Technology and Insurance Industries. She is a proud Laois woman and an avid sports fan from the couch to the side lines and in the thick of it. Running is one of her keen interests and she has completed 2 Dublin City Marathons.


Matt Connor Headshot

Matt Connor – Active Disability Ireland Board Member

Also an Active Disability board member, Matt is well known for his successful career in Gaelic Football, Matt has represented Offaly in winning an All-Ireland in 1982 and has had a role as mentor with the Minor and Senior teams for the last several years. He has a passion for inclusion in sport and physical activity.



Helen McHugh Headshot

Helen McHugh – Sport Ireland

This is also Helen’s second time to sit on the Active Disability Services Awards judging panel. Helen currently holds the position of Diversity & Inclusion manager in Sport Ireland. As part of her role Helen leads on the development of inclusive principles, policies and programmes for people with disabilities.



Jack Kavanagh Headshot

Jack Kavanagh – Public Speaker & Disability Advocate

In 2012 Jack Kavanagh suffered a life changing spinal cord injury leaving him with 15% muscle function, in the years since Jack has challenged the perceived limitations of his situation. As a Pharmacist, Speaker and Facilitator Jack is passionate about the value of health & wellbeing as drivers for business performance coupled with cultivating diverse & inclusive environments where people belong and are valued. He also hosts the Only Human Podcast and sits on the board of directors of the National Disability Authority and Center for Excellence in Universal Design as well as leadership development organisation Common Purpose Ireland.


Eimear Cotter Headshot

Eimear Cotter – HSE Health & Wellbeing

Eimear currently holds the position of project manager within the HSE Health & Wellbeing Department. Eimear’s main focus is within the Healthy Eating Active Living Programme. Eimear also sits on the advisory committee for our Active Healthy Me programme.


Sean Poland Headshot

Sean Poland – Vision Sports Ireland

Sean is a MTU Health & Leisure graduate and currently holds the position of Education, Training & Participation Coordinator in Vision Sport Ireland. Sean plays on the Vision Impaired Irish football team and completed the Dublin City Marathon last year.



Nikki Bradley Headshot

Nikki Bradley – Active Disability Ireland Ambassador

Nikki, one of Active Disability Ireland’s ambassadors, is an adaptive adventurer and one of Ireland’s leading female motivational speakers. She is the founder of ‘Fighting Fit For Ewing’s’, which aims to increase awareness about the disease as well as participating in physical challenges as a result of her own experience fighting the disease. Nikki became the first crutch user to climb four Irish mountains on crutches in less than 32 hours and in 2019 and is currently adapting her new training regime as a result of having a rotationplasty and being fitted with a prosthetic leg.


Karen Coventry Headshot

Karen Coventry – Special Olympics Ireland

In 2018 Karen took up the role of Director of Sport at Special Olympics Ireland. She has a masters degree in applied sport & exercise psychology from the Waterford Institute of Technology. She recently oversaw Ireland’s participation in the 2023 Special Olympic World Games and is currently preparing the team for the Winter Games in March.


The Winners Are …


Category Winner
Best Physical Activity Initiative Cumas New Ross, Co. Wexford
Best Outdoor Activity Initiative Streetwise Brothers of Charity, Co. Clare
Best Healthy Lifestyle Initiative Rehab Care Blennerville, Co. Kerry
Best Community Engagement Initiative St. Michael’s House, Co. Dublin
Active Champion – Male  Martin McLoughlin, HSE Ballytivnan Resource Centre, Sligo
Active Champion – Female Ruth Barron, Stewarts Care, Co. Dublin
Best Active Healthy Me Staff Lead Rebecca Allen, North West Parents and Friends Association, Co. Leitrim
Best Disability Organisation Senior Management   St. Michael’s House, Co. Dublin


Watch the Event Highlight Video


  • Awards stage set up
  • Awards MC Grainne McElwain
  • Helen McHugh, Sport Ireland Opening Address
  • Martina Lanigan, HSE Opening Address
  • Brian O'Callaghan, Active Disability Ireland Chairperson
  • Representatives from Cumas New Ross
  • Representatives from Streetwise Brothers of Charity
  • Representatives from Rehab Care Blennerville
  • Representatives from St. Michael's House
  • Active Champion Male - Martin McLoughlin, Helen McHugh & Chris Heffron
  • Active Champion Female - Ruth Barron, Aine Barron, Lauren Gilsenan & Emma McCormack
  • Best Active Healthy Me Staff Lead - Rebecca Allen & Matt Connor
  • Brenda O'Donnell, Active Disability Ireland CEO
  • DanceZone performers
  • Active Disability Ireland Staff, Ambassadors & awards judges