Outstanding Group

Children At Risk Ireland (CARI) Volunteer Forensic Accompaniment Officers

CARI Volunteer Forensic Accompaniment Officers meet and support the child/young person and family/guardian who arrive at the forensic units. They provide this service in two units in Ireland, in Dublin and Galway. CARI aftercare is a support service for any adult involved in supporting a child through the forensic examination process. When a parent/guardian leaves the unit with the child they tend to feel lost or left with a lot of concerns, emotions and questions. This service is client lead. Support is offered for as long or short as needed.

During the family’s time at either of the units, they may have many questions and need emotional support. The highly trained Galway and Dublin volunteers provide an empathetic, supportive and informative space to both the family and child/young person, with a primary focus on the child.  It is a 24-hour service which is available thought out the year. The volunteers give their time and availability, not only throughout the day and nights, but during family holidays, such as Easter, Christmas or bank holidays weekends.  Furthermore, many of the volunteers have personally undertaken fundraising events for CARI. The volunteers have a major positive impact on the children and families they accompany.

Volunteers show continued creativity and initiative within their volunteering role. When meeting with a family the volunteer is managing the trauma of the child and family. They also must meet a family’s individual needs, such as the child’s age. This includes the families: ethnical background – precious generational trauma – individual’s ability to manage trauma and many more dynamics.

Pullough Community Action Group Community Shop, Offaly

Pullough community Action Group was set up by a group of 8 volunteers who felt this small rural village needed to have a shop where local people could buy basic groceries and meet their neighbours on a regular basis.

In spite of the fact that they had no money to bring about their dream of re-opening a shop which had fallen into disrepair since its closure a few years ago, this group set about fundraising to set up a community, voluntary run shop. Within a few months they had secured permission from the owner to lease the premises, raised enough money to cover the cost of insurance, repair, restore and stock  the shop. Overcoming all obstacles they forged ahead and opened Offaly’s only community shop in June 2017. Since then they have remained dedicated to their roles as volunteers. The shop is open seven days a week, even remaining open during the severe storms and snow of the past year.

The re-opening of the shop has brought new life to the village. It not only provides local people with the opportunity to buy food locally but has become a “Social Hub”and is greatly contributing to inter-generational interaction through the hosting of community events. The creation of a “Youth Space” in an area of the shop is a wonderful addition for the young people of the area. The space is providing them with a friendly environment to socialise and engage in both educational and recreational activities such as computer training, arts & crafts and wellness programmes. It is especially popular during the long summer holidays. It has also given some secondary school students valuable work experience.This venture has re-ignited the passion people have for the betterment of the village.

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue, Waterford

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue (WMSAR) is a voluntary organisation set up by twin brothers Darryl & Declan Barry in 2010 Starting out as a search and rescue organisation it was quickly noticed by the brothers that a suicide prevention team was needed in Waterford City as people with mental health issues were entering the River Suir with the intention of ending their lives. Suicide prevention patrols were set up with the help of volunteers to patrol the quays in Waterford to help people in distress and they now have a patrol every Saturday night from 10pm to 3am. Bank holiday Sunday nights, Christmas Eve, St Stephen’s night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day patrols, have since been added. Suicide Prevention Patrols are also put on to coincide with freshers and Rag week in WIT. WMSAR also train all their volunteers 4 nights a week every week of the year.

Now with over 50 active volunteers WMSAR have gone from strength to strength, starting out in 2010 with just a small boat and 2 life jackets a radio and some petrol. They now have 3 boats, a van, a jeep along with a state of the art 6000 square foot purpose built training and development centre which also has a dedicated family liaison room. Since 2010, WMSAR have to date stopped 106 from entering the water, taken 27 people from the water alive and recovered 6 bodies.