Kildare man wins award for ongoing work with people suffering in asylums

Jim Kavanagh has spent two decades to alleviate suffering of children and adults in psychiatric institutions

An Irish man who has spent the last two decades helping alleviate the suffering of children and adults in psychiatric institutions across Belarus and parts of western Russia has been named Ireland's Charity Hero of 2014.

The national prize is awarded by The Wheel organisation to those who have "made an extraordinary contribution to good causes over their lifetime".

Jim Kavanagh established his Volunteer Outreach Group affiliated to Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International in Co Kilkenny in the early 90s. Together with the help of his family, Mr Kavanagh has to date brought almost 1,000 children to Ireland through the programme. "The Better Together Campaign demonstrates the great value of people working together for the common good," said chief executive Deirdre Garvey.

“Community and voluntary groups are facing their toughest challenge yet: not only is the demand for their services increasing, but their income levels are dropping. The campaign aims to turn the tide on this and strengthen local groups.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times