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2016 Volunteer Manager Nominees

This year we are giving a special commendation for Volunteer Manager of the Year at the Volunteer Ireland Awards. We are lucky in Ireland to have such a great culture of volunteering but that can only happen with the support of so many Volunteer Managers, many of them volunteers themselves, across the country. They say being a Volunteer Manager is one of the toughest jobs as you're required to wear so many different hats - administrator, recruiter, counsellor to name a few. This year we are delighted to recognise the hard work of Volunteer Managers and name one outstanding nominee Volunteer Manager of the Year. The nominees are:

Iris Buchanan  *WINNER*
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

Iris Buchanan is the Coordinator for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland. Iris aims to ensure that volunteering with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland is a two way relationship, one which both the Volunteer and The Alzheimer Society will jointly benefit. She receives and directly coordinates all applications for volunteers, directs volunteers to the appropriate services, works with 36 Service Managers to ensure the correct support is in place for the volunteer and all necessary inductions are carried out.

Iris, on a daily basis in her own time, communicates with volunteers via email / phone. When required she attends monthly meetings with managers to provide necessary volunteer updates, all on her own time. When requested, she offers potential Volunteer Coordinators training and advice on taking up such a role. She maintains and updates Volunteer Register and seeks external and internal training opportunities for Volunteers.

Iris also assists in devising Job Descriptions and Induction packs for Volunteers. She ensures Garda Vetting is followed through and in place for all volunteers. Volunteer growth within The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has grown substantially since Iris came on board. When she commenced her role as Volunteer Coordinator the Volunteer Register grew from 17 to over 200!

Lorna Collins
Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice

Previously the Volunteer Manager for Special Olympics Ireland, where she managed over 40,000 volunteers, Lorna is now the Volunteer Manager for Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice.

Lorna is a true leader, working nights, weekends and whenever her volunteers are working, she’s there. She is the first to dress up in the silly costumes and dance around, and never asks anything of her gang that she wouldn’t do first. She puts time and personal expense into making them feel at home in the organisation, unpaid hours to hold their hand, always having bowls of treats and goodies to keep the sugar levels up.

Her annual volunteer day is her little time to say thanks to her staff - she bakes, makes videos and puts in weeks of work so that everyone that contributed feels that what they did made a difference and makes them feel special. Her team spans all ages and sections of the community, even a patient whose wish was to become part of the team. Old or young with physical or intellectual difficulties, she finds a way for them to contribute, never turning anyone away, even when her own time is required to assist them, all while delivering an amazing experience to these children in need of a smile.

Tracie Kinsella
Youth Work Ireland

Tracie Kinsella is the Youth Club Development Officer at Youth Work Ireland (Meath) with the responsibility to manage and support Youth Club Volunteer Leaders for over 10 years. Tracie came from a volunteer background before joining the organisation and as has a clear idea of the commitment volunteers make, she always ensures that her youth club volunteers receive deserved recognition every year.

Tracie delivers a wide range of training to her adult volunteers and also her young volunteers. At the start of the volunteering process Tracie will meet with the volunteer, for a nice chat and a cup of tea. She'll explain everything about the organisation and give the volunteer the opportunity to get involved in different events and projects. Between them they identify skills the volunteer can share with others and encourage young people to learn these new skills and talents.

Tracie recognises that as some of the youth clubs are in rural areas, it can be difficult to take part in many organisational activities, so she will fill her car up with materials and head off to help volunteers draw up group contracts, planning schedules and deliver training direct to the members. She took 9 young volunteers who are part of the Youth Forum to Strasburg to experience how the European Union consider European youth issues.

According to Geraldine who nominated her ‘Tracie has always got a smile on her face, volunteers will say she has a great listening ear and that she remembers volunteers’ families. She brings energy to volunteers who sometimes feel tired half-way through youth club year. Supporting volunteers is more than a job to Tracie, it's in her nature and we are so lucky to have her on our team and supporting our many volunteers and young people.’


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