Volunteer Ireland has today expressed gratitude to all of those volunteers who did their utmost to help their community during the recent extreme weather conditions. Thousands of volunteers across the country came together to support those in need.
According to Volunteer Ireland CEO Nina Arwitz, the spectacular response from volunteers came as no surprise. “Ireland has the highest levels of volunteering in Europe and the voluntary effort over the last number of days exemplifies this. Thousands of volunteers battled the elements to ensure roads were clear, provide support to the health service and rescue people from dangerous situations. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication that there have been so few reports of accidents and injuries. Thousands of volunteers also braved the snow to deliver services to the homeless, man helplines and ensure that that those most at risk were not left behind.
Ireland also has high levels of what we term ‘informal volunteering’ – people helping a neighbour, a friend or the local community. Social media is awash with stories of people digging their neighbours’ driveways, buying food for elderly friends and coming together to make way for emergency vehicles. We extend our deepest thanks to every person that made a difference this past week.”
Anthony Lawlor, Irish Red Cross National Director of Units echoed the thanks for the volunteers. “The Irish Red Cross volunteers have completed in excess of 5,000 volunteer hours nationwide since last Tuesday and we’re extremely grateful to them and their families for the commitment and dedication they have shown.”
Commander John Wright, National Director of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps stated “The teamwork demonstrated by the volunteers in all the agencies was truly amazing and one we were proud to be part of. In particular, I am grateful to our volunteers for the sheer scale of calls they covered (216 out of 470) throughout the duration of the event”.
Oliver Allen RGN, St John Ambulance National Volunteer Coordinator added “Our volunteers provided a range of support such as basic humanitarian assistance to those in airports by providing blankets and stretchers for those whose flights were cancelled which afforded them some degree of comfort. Volunteers also provided ambulance transports to help get patients to and from important hospital appointments. Whilst we transported patients we also transported staff to hospitals and assisted community nurses and palliative care nurses to get to their patients. We are very grateful to our amazing and dedicated volunteers for giving up their time for sake of others, which is in fact one of our organisation’s mottoes “Pro Utilitate Homminum” or “In the Service of Humanity””.
The Red Cross Movement, with 97 million members worldwide, is the largest humanitarian aid organisation in the world today. It was founded by Swiss business man Henri Dunant following the battle of Solferino in northern Italy in 1859, which saw over 40,000 people killed or wounded. The Irish Red Cross was formally established in 1939. Their programmes and services aim to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
The Order of Malta Ambulance Corps (The Ambulance Corps) as part of Order of Malta Ireland is one of the largest voluntary providers of first aid, ambulance and community care services in Ireland. It was established in 1938 and has developed into an organization of more than 3,000 members across more than 80 units throughout communities in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Ambulance Corps operates as a volunteer led organization, with a small number of full-time paid administrators working in headquarters on Clyde Road in Dublin 4.
St John Ambulance is an international humanitarian organisation with over 500,000 volunteers in over 20 different countries. It has been offering First Aid and CPR training as well as assistance to sick and injured members of the public for over 100 years. The organisation is run by unpaid volunteers at all levels, up to and including the Commissioner, the de facto Chief Executive Officer. St John Ambulance Ireland began in in Guinness’s Brewery in 1903 and since then the organisation has been at the forefront of acute care and training throughout Ireland for over 100 years.