Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Large Group Shortlisted Nominees 2021


We are so proud to announce this year’s shortlisted nominees in the Large Group Category. This year we are celebrating three outstanding groups of volunteers in each category.

Read each of their inspiring stories below.

 


Innovate Communities – INSPIRE Mentoring Programme, Co Dublin

 

INSPIRE Mentoring is a unique online mentoring programme for young people aged 18-25. INSPIRE Mentoring matches the mentee with an experienced professional volunteer from a similar background. Through their shared experiences, these mentors are uniquely positioned to act as a powerful role model, encouraging mentees to achieve their goals.  

The programme has been operational since September 2020 and currently engages over 100 active volunteers. INSPIRE aims to utilise the power of skilled mentoring to reduce the impact of poverty and educational disadvantage affording young people the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence to change their future. 

Becoming a volunteer mentor requires significant dedication. Through an extensive-boarding process, interview stage and training programme, the mentors demonstrate remarkable commitment to the organisation and the young people supported by INSPIRE.  

The timing of INSPIRE’s launch during the pandemic required volunteers to not just mentor but too also take into account the impact of COVID-19 on the young people they engaged with. Against this challenging backdrop our volunteer mentors truly stepped up to the mark and collectively showed a huge amount of creativity, passion and initiative in their volunteering. 

 


Free Legal Advice Centres, Co. Dublin 

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation, which exists to promote equal access to justice. FLAC ‘s Phone Legal Information and Advice Volunteers contribute in two ways. The  Information Line Volunteers operate the telephone information and referral line, providing basic legal information and assistance to the public. If the query is more complex the service user is given an appointment at one of our Phone Advice Clinics. At the Phone Legal Advice Clinics, our Legal Advice Volunteers offer free and confidential legal advice sessions via phone to service users in need.

COVID-19 posed a significant challenge for the 550 FLAC volunteers. While the volunteer team typically operated from the organisation’s clinics, adherence to Government guidelines in March 2020 saw each clinic closed. Immediately, many volunteers expressed an interest in providing services remotely. Pivoting to this changed offering required administrative and organizational aptitude. The volunteer advisors were willing to adapt and change to adjust to an ever-changing COVID-19 situation, recognising that despite pandemic restrictions, demand for their expertise continued.

 


Volunteer Team, Recovery Haven Cancer Support House, Co. Kerry 

Recovery Haven Kerry Volunteer Team is made up of over 50 volunteers who are involved in the day to day running of the centre, providing drop-in and telephone listening services as well as complementary therapies and group activities. 

The group are integral to the support provided by Recovery Haven. Recognising the challenges faced by people who contact the organisation in need of support, the volunteers undergo continuous training in order to appropriately responds to the emotional situations they often encounter. The team give their time providing in person or telephone support to clients and their families, providing them with information to assist them in navigating their cancer journey.

In addition to this, the volunteers provide day-to-day support to the staff of Recovery Haven, recording client details, covering reception, cleaning, sanitising and making tea and coffee for visitors. Many of these volunteers engage with fundraising events and take part in the volunteer gardening group which provides a restful space for clients.  

During the pandemic, the volunteers came together to provide a phone support service for clients and have made over 2000 phone calls since March 2020.  

The Recovery Haven Kerry Volunteer Team is often the first port of call for new clients visiting the centre and each volunteer is committed to ensuring that these clients are always treated with compassion, respect and understanding.