National Volunteering Week 12th to 18th May 2014

National Volunteer Week is an important week in the life of every Community.

National Volunteering Week is a great opportunity to recognise the hundreds of men and women, who give freely of their time, day-in day-out, for the greater good of their community.

Respond knows that the success of many estates, community projects and centres nationally can be attributed to the work, dedication and vision of these remarkable people.

A number of activities were organised by Respond locally to celebrate national volunteering week including:

A volunteer coffee morning and presentation took place last Thursday morning 15th May in Laois. Nineteen volunteers were invited from the 4 Laois estates , volunteers who attended were:

Mill Court: Stan Henderson. Birchgrove: Paddy Breen.  An Garran: Dan Russell. Gort na nOir: Larry Kavanagh (Active Retirement) Paddy Davy (Active Retirement) Heather Harris. Joe Anderson.

Storm Powell from Laois Partnership attended and gave a brief talk about the Volunteer Laois Programme.  This programme was launched in Laois late 2012 but has really only started to develop in the past number of months, with the help of volunteers.Storm mentioned the Failte Isteach Program as an example of the strong volunteering within Laois and the different areas people may be interested in.

The Volunteer Laois program act as a referral to different agencies that may need volunteers however do not manage the volunteers in any program. People interested in volunteering can contact Laois Partnership volunteer programme and give information about an area they would be interested in.  If Laois Partnership can match the needs of both parties they make arrangements for both parties to meet up.

The volunteers were very interested in the information with lots of questions and feedback given. Stella Sheehy who is the Respond Older persons support worker for the Gort na nOir estate in Laois, spoke about her personal experience in volunteering in the Failte Isteach. A small gift and the certificate of appreciation was presented to the volunteers present.

“Hopefully we can build on this event to continue to show our gratitude to the volunteers who do such valuable work within our community”-  Jason Delaney

Another coffee morning for volunteers was organised in Eiscir Riada, Co Offaly on 14th May . Certificates of Recognition and a box of sweets were presented to volunteers as a small token of appreciation for their work on the estates locally.

Attendance: Jean Nolan, Angela Harte,  Trevor Flynn, Kataryna Marvszewski, Dmitry Dmitruk, Brendan Doorley , Brenden Boyle and Fidelma Mealiffe.

It was a great opportunity to create a discussion with volunteers with reference to the activities that could be carried-out on the estate going forward and a number of very worthwhile ideas were discussed for future activities and projects.

Respond childcare staff were also recognised for their volunteer work on the estate in voluntarily running and organising the last two summer camps for local children.  – Fidelma Mealiffe.

Aisling Flynn Respond RSW tells us about volunteerism in Ard Mor Court:
“Very significant efforts have been made in Ard Mor Court over the past few years to build community and develop the spirit of volunteerism in the estate and  Ard Mor Court have come a long way in terms of its development. Team Ard Mor meetings have been happening regularly in 2014 and there is a renewed sense of spirit in the estate.

New youth programmes are being developed and planned as well as community activity and clean up days. Ard Mor Court in Tallaght had it’s first Resident’s Meeting of 2014 last Wednesday 14th May which was very well attended. To celebrate that and to celebrate Volunteer Week 2014 a cake was enjoyed by all to mark the occasion!”

On Tuesday the 20th of May, Respond staff in Blackpool, Cork hosted Afternoon Tea for 15 of their Volunteers from the City & County in St Francis Gardens in Blackpool. Volunteers travelled from the “Friends of Respond” in Youghal, Carraigliath and Ross Na Coille estates in Midelton, St Francis Gardens and Blackpool Day Care Centre.

Volunteers were served Afternoon Tea by staff as a way of thanking them for all their time, effort and commitment in their volunteering endeavours with Respond. It was a relaxed affair giving both volunteers and staff an opportunity to get to know each other a little better and to hear about the different activities and projects going on in the Cork Respond estates. All Volunteers got a tour of the Respond complex in Blackpool which were formerly the Glen flats before its re-generation and all received a small gift on departure. Staff wish to extend their thanks once again to all of the 35 Volunteers in the Cork area – Margaret Fenton

Thank you for your time

“Every time you give, you help a human being . . . . When that person is stronger their family is stronger, when their family is stronger their street is stronger, when the street is stronger the community is stronger, when the community is stronger our country is stronger.”

Mary McAleese, 13th Sept. 2002