Geoff Maher has been the National President of the St Vincent de Paul charity since 2012.
He has worked tirelessly in this voluntary role and has been a member of the Society for the past 35 years. He has served at national level since 2005 both as treasurer and as president.
Mr Maher is originally from Windgap but he has lived in the city for the past 50 years. He became involved in the organisation after been asked by a friend to become a member of St Canice's Conference. For the next 20 years he was an ordinary member of the Society which has 1,250 individual conferences and approximately 10,500 members. On average 4,000 visits are made every week by members of the St Vincent de Paul to families in need.
At national level part of the role of the President is to make sure that members are well-trained and to ensure that the society can sustain itself.
“The challenge is to get families back to self-sufficiency. It is to be there when they need support and then to help them to get back on their feet. The demand is as strong now as it was in recent years. We do a lot of work to ensure that people don't become homeless and we work very closely with other agencies like MABS. I am accepting this award on behalf of all the 10,500 voluntary members of the St Vincent de Paul, “ he said.
Mr Maher is also the chairman of the St Canice's Homes for the Elderly for the past ten years and has been involved since its inception in 1989.
“We were set up by the parish to provide independent living in a community setting for elderly people in the parish and in the surrounding areas. We provide a daily meal, do light household work and provide social interaction thus enabling people to continue to live in the community.”