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17/09/2021

New Volunteer Centre will serve the community in Offaly

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Chairman Martin Buckley and Deirdre Fox, manager of the new Offaly Volunteer Centre

THE opening of the new Offaly Volunteer Centres was officially announced by Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities on Monday last, the first day of National Volunteering Week.

The Offaly centre of one of seven which will serve the people of Kilkenny, Leitrim, Laois, Offaly, Roscommon, Waterford and Wexford, meaning there is now a volunteer centre in every county.  

Volunteer Centres are supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development to provide a placement service between individuals and groups who want to volunteer and organisations that are seeking to involve volunteers. They also provide training, Garda vetting, advice and supports to volunteer organisations. Funding for the establishment of the new centres came from the Dormant Action Plan, and ongoing funding support will be provided from the Department’s Volunteering Supports budget. 

This announcement is a key deliverable of the National Volunteering Strategy which Minister O’Brien launched in December 2020. The opening of these seven Volunteer Centres is a hugely positive step and will ensure volunteers are supported in contributing to developing and maintaining vibrant, inclusive and sustainable communities through volunteering.

Launching the new Volunteer Centres, Minister O’Brien said:

“My Department’s funding to Volunteer Centres is designed to strengthen and foster volunteering in Ireland.

“With the opening of these seven new centres throughout National Volunteering Week, we are further strengthening our volunteering infrastructure across the country and this will provide invaluable support to volunteers and volunteering activity in our communities. As we know, the most effective volunteering doesn’t happen by accident and the correct infrastructure combined with strong volunteer management can help ensure that volunteer efforts are maximised across our communities.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank Volunteer Ireland for their support in this project and to sincerely thank the Boards and staff of the new Volunteer Centres who have worked so hard to open their doors.” 

William Earley, Chair of Volunteer Ireland, said:

“This is a momentous day for volunteering in Ireland. We are lucky to have a strong culture of volunteering in this country, but it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

“The supports provided by Volunteer Centres to both volunteers and organisations alike from referral and training to Garda vetting will be hugely beneficial to these counties.

“Volunteer Ireland were delighted to play an integral role in the establishment and development of these Volunteer Centres, and we look forward to continuing our work with them and the wider network of Volunteer Centres across the country to support, advocate for and celebrate volunteering in Ireland.”

Concluding, Minister O’Brien said:

“Back in March 2020, the country was called on to step-up and the response by volunteers was staggering.

“With the support of the thousands of volunteers in communities across Ireland, the Community Call was successfully able to support those most vulnerable in our communities during the pandemic.

“Over 26,000 people registered to volunteer through the I-VOL app by the end of the year, and their contribution to supporting their communities during these difficult times has been invaluable.

“As part of National Volunteering Week, we take the time to acknowledge and showcase this, and all, volunteering efforts and I look forward to attending the events being organised across the country.”

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