Ballyphehane/Togher Community Arts & Crafts Initiative (BTACI), Cork

This group of 20 ladies are voluntary tutors in the community promoting the preservation and passing on of traditional Irish craft skills through the generations. They have been volunteering in the locality for the last 21 years and have widened that reach to include regional, national and international connections.

The initiative now consists of 9 local Art Groups. In addition they have now expanded to include 5 different craft sessions in the community each week, one after schools in the Primary girls school in Ballyphehane and a range of classes given to other Communities across the City that are taught by tutors from this group. In all, almost 300 women of all ages, discover weekly the joy of craft and traditional skills and experience the enjoyment of the company of their peers by participating in community arts and crafts activities.

They felt it was important to challenge Educational Centres to value the multiple life and practical skills people have and not just their academic ability. With the local primary school they arranged classes for fifth and sixth class girls. They have also worked with a group of girls from the Applied Leaving Certificate class in the local Secondary School thus supporting children and schools to recognise that multiple intelligence and creativity are enormously important. They persuaded the local Further Education College to give them space to run classes within the college, and subsequently to put traditional crafts in the Design Curriculum.

They are also heavily involved in the ‘Amulet Project’ with Cork University Maternity Hospital making amulets for premature babies. The initiative is now deeply involved in a development process that will see this project rolled out nationwide.

 

Living Well with Dementia, Dublin

This group of 38 people fill a number of roles, mainly activities support such as assisting in the running of community activity groups including choirs, Dance, Art & Exercise & Bridge groups.

Volunteers set up rooms, participate in the activities, support people who need help, make tea/coffee and most importantly chat and engage with people who attend classes. Some of the volunteers also provide a one-to-one befriending service where they visit people in their own homes on a weekly basis for a chat or they may go for a walk /to mass/on an outing. Other volunteers drive people to the activity who would not otherwise be able to attend.

The volunteers have had a significant impact on the lives of people with dementia and their families. Feedback from family members indicates that there is a huge sense of isolation and social exclusion for many with a dementia diagnosis. Coming to, and engaging in, these activities has made a significant difference to the lives of many people living with dementia, enabling them to continue with activities that give them huge enjoyment and providing them with companionship & friendship in a relaxed and comfortable setting.

Without volunteers none of the activities or befriending services of LWwD could continue. They take a huge personal interest in the wellbeing of all the people who attend classes and take personal responsibility for the service they provide. Volunteers have actively recruited new volunteers to LWwD by their enthusiasm & commitment to the work that they do.

 

St. Francis Hospice Volunteers, Dublin

This group is made up of ten volunteers who have been volunteering with St Francis Hospice Raheny for over twenty years. St Francis Hospice couldn’t provide the level of care they do without these volunteers. These volunteers have been there for over the 20 years, they are committed and dedicated. The time they give to the patients enhances their quality of care. They listen, care and show compassion. They work with dignity and respect.

According to Barbara who nominated the group “The volunteers nominated volunteer in many different roles.  From counting donations in our cash office, artists, hairdressing, singing at our service of remembrance right through to working directly with patients in our In-Patient unit.  I cannot stress enough about how our volunteer roles enhance the quality of care for patients, to be there to listen, watch television or be a presence. To give families a break or a listening ear.”