Mary-Louise Ryan: ‘I’ve been volunteering at a Community Centre, helping Ukrainian children.’
Karen McHugh: ‘It’s so important to me, I volunteer full-time as well as working full-time.’
Carmel: ‘ALONE gave me the tools and I have gained a friend who I adore’
Aware is a national charity that supports people experiencing low mood, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
With five children, Mary’s time was limited but when she got the chance to volunteer eleven years ago, she never looked back!
Eddie Smyth has been volunteering for about five years driving cancer patients to their appointments with both Greystones Cancer Support and Wicklow Cancer Support.
Blessington Tidy Towns Chairperson Jason discusses the impact Tidy Towns volunteers are making in Blessington, Co. Wicklow.
Adam Masterson is a student and volunteer who is passionate about protecting our natural environment.
Today is the last – but definitely not least – story in our special National Volunteering Week series where we speak to seven volunteers about what they do, why they do it and what advice they have for others. Share your story with us on Twitter using #WhyIVolunteer and #NVW2019.
Jack is a retired banker who loves to play squash and sing in his local choir. Having moved to Waterford in 1969, Jack lives with his wife and has four grown up children and three grandchildren.
Jack has had many a volunteer role in his time but he currently volunteers with the Waterford Volunteering Information Service where he supports tourism in his area as a Meet and Greet volunteer every summer. This involves chatting to people, telling them about attractions in Waterford and the South East and directing them. Jack loves his role because he gets to meet all different types of people and enjoys chatting with them and hearing their stories.
Jack has also been involved in a number of committees as Chair/Secretary/ Treasurer including Dungarvan Lions, Tramore Tourism, Waterford Male Voice Choir and Waterford Choirs Association. He was part of a team that set up a choir of 240 people for the opening ceremony of the Tall Ships in Waterford in 2011.
When we asked Jack why he volunteers he said “Waterford is my home and I want to give something back to my local community. Some of the roles I’ve had like the squash club have been great because I’ve really benefitted from the club and then I was able to help it benefit others. The club gave me great enjoyment so I wanted to give some of that back.”
What advice would Jack have for someone who has never volunteered before? “Just try it, you won’t lose anything by taking that first step. The most important is to enjoy whatever kind of volunteering you do – so make sure it’s something you enjoy and you’ll get the most out of it!”
A wonderful example of skilled volunteering as part of our special National Volunteering Week series where we speak to seven volunteers about what they do, why they do it and what advice they have for others. Share your story with us on Twitter using #WhyIVolunteer and #NVW2019.
Sarah is a Research Consultant and Lecturer in social policy, leadership and management in the community, non-profit and public sector. She has worked in research, policy and management roles in a number of different national and international charities. Sarah moved to Sligo from Dublin with her husband and two young children 18 months ago.
Sarah volunteers on the board of Sligo Volunteer Centre. Given her work as a Research Consultant, she has a particular interest in evaluation, strategic planning and governance. Having been part of a non-profit board when she lived in Dublin, she wanted to find something similar in Sligo. Sarah was particularly keen to find a board volunteer role as she felt she had very specific skills that could really help a small organisation.
Since joining the board, she has taken an active role in helping the Volunteer Centre develop their new strategic plan. Aside from attending board meetings, Sarah has also used her professional skills to support the strategic planning process by analysing previous annual reports and facilitating a focus group among staff to help shape future work.
We asked Sarah if being on a board was a big time commitment given that she has her own consultancy and a young family. “The great thing about being on a board is you can be as active as you would like to be. We meet about 6 times a year but I’ve been a lot more involved this year during the strategic planning process. It can be challenging sometimes with work and childcare but in general it is very manageable, especially when meetings are planned in advance so I can organise around them”.
What advice would she give someone who never volunteered before? “I’d definitely recommend getting involved. Be realistic about the time you can give and then look at what your strengths are and find something that works for you. It is very rewarding and there are so many different volunteering opportunities out there. Even if you only have 2 hours to give every month, that’s a valid commitment and could really help an organisation. I really get a boost from seeing my skills have an impact on the Volunteer Centre. As someone who recently moved to Sligo, I also found it was a great way to learn about the area and the local community.”