James and John Lynch volunteer with Age Action in Cork. James began volunteering in 2019 and from his earliest engagement with the organisation, his people skills were evident. His father John had been volunteering with Age Action’s Care & Repair team since 2017, and when public health restrictions were implemented in 2020, this volunteer duo worked together to support the community.
As James volunteered on the administration team, he took calls from older people who required assistance. He passed these on to John who responded to emergency call outs. This father and son tag team excelled in a time of crisis, ensuring essential supports for older people in a time of uncertainty. John and James’ commitment ‘enabled Age Action to meet increased demand, but this is only half the story,’ says a fellow volunteer. ‘The real story is the skill, dedication, resourcefulness and determination demonstrated when seeking solutions to every kind of request we received.’
Majella Beattie from Co. Longford established Care Champions in 2018 and has given her time voluntarily to the organisation ever since. Care Champions is an advocacy group for people who require care support in the community and campaigns for residents in care homes.
Throughout the pandemic, Majella has been an advocate for older adults in residential care, as well as the families and staff impacted by COVID-19. She was a listening ear for hundreds of bereaved families through dedicated telephone support, while working closely with over 40 nursing home staff as they navigated the challenges and trauma of COVID-19. Majella engages with the families of adults in care, allowing their experiences to shape the policy recommendations she brings to the senior health officials, TDs and Senators she collaborates with.
Majella’s passion for ensuring support for people in care has ensured many families have safe access to their loved ones during the pandemic, as well as facilitating compassionate and end of life visits. Majella’s development of the Care Champions online campaign has brought together a virtual community of over 6000 people who follow her unwavering campaign for support and awareness raising.
Aviva Centralised Vaccination Centre Programme
Raymond Carr was a volunteer at the Aviva Vaccination Centre. Over seven months, he volunteered over 480 hours and played a major role in shaping the volunteer programme. His innovation ensured that the busy demands of this ever-changing environment were well-met. Fellow volunteers joked that he must have a bed stashed away somewhere, noting that it was a rare day that Raymond wasn’t on site!
Raymond took part in education and training initiatives at the vaccination centre and was consistently happy to share his knowledge and expertise with volunteers. He described his time at the Aviva as a ‘transformative experience.’