Spotlight: Welcome English

Situated in Crosses Green in the heart of Cork City, Welcome English Language Centre is a volunteer fueled resource that has been assisting asylum seekers, refugees and the unemployed to learn or improve their English since 2001. Utilising the skills and talent of dedicated volunteer tutors, the centre currently provides English Language Classes to over 234 students.

 Adam recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with volunteer co-ordinator Angela Murphy to discuss the work being done in the centre by the volunteers. At present the centre has 37 volunteers, which consists of people with a CELTA or TEFL Qualification, primary or secondary teaching experience or have taught English abroad. The Centre provides a valuable outlet for qualified English teachers to gain work experience and boost their chances of gaining employment in the future, or for retired teachers who still want to do their bit to help in the communities.

For those starting off as volunteers with the centre, they are first given the opportunity to sit in and observe classes being taught. Tutors with less experience in teaching are usually given smaller classes at first, while tutors with more teaching experience are given larger or mixed ability classes.


“Volunteers are the heart and soul of Welcome English” Angela says as she discusses the unselfish efforts of the volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering there for nearly 17 years. Angela also praised the kindness of the Sisters of Mercy who provided the building and funding for the co-ordinator role.


After a brief introduction to the centre Adam then had the opportunity to meet some of the volunteers who contribute greatly to the success of the centre. Betty Barry has been volunteering with Welcome English for over 10 years, and explains how difficult it can be to succeed in Cork, and in Ireland without any English. Clare McCarthy a long standing volunteer who has been volunteering with the centre for 17 years, explains how she was drawn to Welcome English in response to the influx of asylum seekers to Cork in 2000. “It’s not just about teaching English. It’s about helping people who are displaced with no language” Clare reinforces. While Martin Owens who has been volunteering there for 18 months shares that it’s great to be able to meet new people. Both Students and other volunteers, and give something selflessly.

The students are also given many opportunities to meet people outside the classroom environment, with regular trips to Cork City Library as well as involvement in festivals and events such as World Book Day or the Lifelong Learning Festival where students are encouraged to attend and participate. This gives the students a great opportunity to interact with the general public and vice versa breaking down racial barriers, and allowing them to build a better awareness of Cork culture, as well as sharing their own.

Welcome English are always looking for volunteers with experience in teaching English. If you would like to learn more about volunteering there, or indeed if you would like to volunteer in any of the other sectors, we would greatly encourage you to register online at and we can help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @VolunteerCork where you can keep up to date with all our latest opportunities, events and the general happenings here in Cork.

Adam Lacey

Cork Volunteer Centre

National Volunteer Week 2017


National Volunteer Week will soon be upon us, and we are very excited to reveal our list of events!

If you would like some more information, or to sign up for our information sessions, please email .


Spotlight: Cork Life Centre


Cork Life Centre, perched atop Winters Hill is a bustling centre of education offering an alternative learning environment to marginalized young people.  Catering for youths between the ages of 12-18 years, Cork Life Centre provides support for those who for various reasons have not thrived or coped in a mainstream educational setting, offering one to one tuition in both Junior and Leaving Certificate subjects as well as preparing them for State Examinations.

Opening its doors for the first time in 2000 with the support of the Christian Brothers and the then director Br Barry O’Shea, the Life Centre initially served a small number of students. Today, 17 years later under the directorship of Don O’Leary, Cork Life Centre has excelled from strength to strength. The voluntary organisation now hosts over 70 staff, the majority of which are volunteers and 50 students.
Speaking to Don, he explains that “we wouldn’t be able to continue without volunteers”. Elaborating further, Don explains that the volunteers are what create the community environment within the centre. The students respond well to the volunteers, as they know they are there because they want to be there. The community aspect is also reinforced in the fact that both students and volunteers prepare lunch and eat together, as well as the various other extra-curricular activities the students get involved with.

Cork Life Centre has been fortunate enough to have an abundance of volunteers to cater for the needs of the students.  From recent graduates, to those passionate about certain subjects, the Life Centre has even had volunteers spanning as far as Uganda, Serbia and Poland.  Don explains that “volunteers are only as good as the jobs you give them”. He emphasises the importance of allowing volunteers to teach in areas that they are comfortable and passionate, elaborating that just because somebody has a degree in psychology, doesn’t mean they are necessarily passionate about psychology. When volunteers look to get started, Don says that the students react well to volunteers who are teaching something they are passionate about.

Speaking to six of the volunteers in the centre, there was a resounding acknowledgement from each of them that the students were their biggest motivation in getting involved with the centre. Craig Hayes who has been in the centre for 8 years teaches Maths and Computers. Craig couldn’t afford to go to college after school so taking a year out he came across the centre through career guidance, and seeing the growth and progress of the students each year has been a huge factor in why he has remained there for so long.

Leah Hearne who teaches Music and English in the centre has been helping one student put together his debut album of original songs, as well as working on various different group music projects. She was always curious about the social impact of the arts and since she started in the centre in September 2015, she shares that it’s all about the “little victories” for her.

Eimear O’Callaghan teaches English and Geography and after hearing Don speak in UCC, his passion and enthusiasm motivated her to get involved with the Life Centre. Eimear says she gets up in the morning for the students and says how easy it is to take stability for granted, and realises the importance of creating a sense of stability in the lives of these students.

Darragh Murphy started in September 2016, and teaches Music and Biology. As a scientist, he had been working away, has been self-employed and was looking for a more dynamic use of his time. Leah encouraged him to get involved, and he is really enjoying spending his time in this “peer driven society”. Darragh says the experience young people have in this school is far removed from the school experience he had. All of the teachers in Cork Life Centre really want to teach, and it’s this sort of atmosphere where students prosper.

Claire Looney has been volunteering since September 2015, and teaches English and History.  After completing her H.Dip in Secondary Education, she was eager to get experience working with young people.  She speaks fondly of the wider community that has formed in the centre. “The basic needs of the students are met first” Claire explains. “They eat together, overcome things together” and she acknowledges the value of one to one tuition.

Finally, Aíne Collins followed in her mother’s footsteps when she started volunteering. She now teaches Music and Home Economics. She explains how the centre doesn’t solely focus on the traditional curriculum, with various activities like speech classes, and rowing allowing the students to better express themselves and develop their interests.


Cork Life Centre are always looking for volunteers, with a number of teaching roles currently being advertised through Cork Volunteer Centre. If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Cork Life Centre, or indeed if you would like to volunteer in any of the other sectors, we would greatly encourage you to register online at and we can arrange a meeting to help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @VolunteerCork where you can keep up to date with all our latest opportunities, events and general happenings here in Cork.

Adam Lacey

Cork Volunteer Centre

Tel: 0214251572


Facebook / Twitter : @VolunteerCork



Volunteer Management Training


‘Volunteer Management Training’ (VMT) is a two-day modular certified course run twice per year aimed at non-profit organisations who already involve volunteers in their service.  Training is in a group setting. Topics covered include:

*Advertising for volunteers

*Interviewing volunteers


*Induction/Volunteer Agreements

*Developing a volunteer policy

*Planning for volunteer involvement

For more information and to talk to us about how we can support your organisation in its work with volunteers email us at

NEXT TRAINING : MAY 9th & May 16th 2017


Training will take place in Cork Volunteer Centre premises, 13 North Main Street, Cork City at a cost of €100 per participant. Please open the information leaflet and VMT Form (May 2017). A place on the course can only be confirmed once payment has been received, and a waiting list system will operate for those unable to secure a place at this session.

*Booking is essential for all training sessions*



Rent Our Meeting Space



Meeting room available to rent to groups weekdays, 9a.m.-5p.m. each day. Full day Saturday and Sunday bookings are also possible.

Our room is on 1st floor, unfortunately we have no wheel chair access, and can seat 15 people in either theatre style or circular style. Tea/coffee/milk/sugar included in the cost.

Cork Volunteer Centre requires a copy of insurance indemnification from groups renting this space.

Fee for renting space:

For non-profit organisations: €60.00 for full day and €30.00 for half day.

Extra Weekend charge €30.00 for full day.

Other groups: €100.00 for full day and €50.00 for half day

Please contact us on 021-425 1572 if you wish to book our meeting space.

Spotlight: Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland


Founded in April 2010, and situated in Mallow Co. Cork. Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI), is a national charity established to provide a primary quality service to children with autism, and to help improve their lives, and the lives of their families.


As children with autism often have no sense of danger, the dogs are mainly used for safety. The child is attached to an assistance dog by a belt, and the parent holds the dog on a leash, allowing the child to walk independently of their parent.


Nuala & Ghandi

Adam Lacey from Cork Volunteer Centre,  recently had the chance to sit down with CEO Nuala Geraghty to gain a better insight and discuss the work done by Autism Assistance dogs Ireland, an organisation which she says “couldn’t survive” without the involvement of volunteers, “they are the lifeblood of the organisation”.


Two of the main areas AADI seek volunteer involvement are in Puppy Fostering and Dog sitting. Nuala explains what these roles entail. For puppy fostering, “the volunteers raise the puppies in their own homes for 12 months.” The aim of the volunteer is to socialise the puppy, and take it out in public. The dogs wear a special red vest that allows them access in public areas, and AADI covers the costs of food, training vet visits and equipment.


Puppy Fosterer Liz Shanahan, who is now fostering her 3rd dog explains to Adam how the work AADI do is a win / win for both her family and the family that will eventually receive the dog. Liz says that she was always hesitant to get a dog despite her kids requests, as having grown up with dogs, she knew the commitment required.


While in Douglas library Liz happened upon a flyer for AADI, and seeing that the dog would only require a year of care, she felt that it would be a good opportunity to bring a puppy into their household, but if it didn’t work out, she would only have it for a year.


An important factor Liz highlights is that Puppy Fosterers need to be aware that it is not their dog. They have the dog for a purpose and no matter the weather, you have to be prepared to get up and walk the dog every morning. “People need to know what they’re getting in for, and realise this is not their dog for life”. The dogs not only benefit the future family, but can have such a positive impact on the foster family.


The knowledge that you are starting this dog on its journey to helping a family down the line, as well as the emotional support, and distractions caring for a dog can have really make it a worthwhile investment, for those willing to accept the time commitment. Liz also commends the work being done by AADI, and the support they get on a regular basis.


There is also a social aspect to the fostering, and a group of carers usually meet with the dogs on a weekly basis for training, taking the dogs through various new situations, like open thread staircases or just going through shops and socialising the dogs.


As AADI don’t use Kennels for their dogs, they look for volunteers who will kindly look after their dogs for both short and long term boarding. This kind of role may suit people who can not completely commit to 12 months, but would still like to help out. Short term boarding usually means you would have a puppy staying with you for a weekend, or a couple of weeks while the puppies family are on holidays. Socialising the puppy is still an important part of boarding, even if the dog is just staying for a few nights.


As it costs up to €15000 per dog to ready them for their life as an assistance dog, AADI rely on donations, fundraising and volunteer support to ensure the service is their for families that need it.


If you would like to learn more about volunteering with AADI, you can check out their website, or indeed if you would like to volunteer in any of the other sectors, we would greatly encourage you to register online at and we can arrange a meeting to help find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. You can also find us on Twitter: @VolunteerCork and Facebook: Cork Volunteer Centre where you can keep up to date with all our latest opportunities, events and general happenings in Cork.


Adam Lacey

Cork Volunteer Centre

Tel: 0214251572


Facebook / Twitter : @VolunteerCork



SECAD Training



South & East Cork Area Development Ltd (SECAD) are running their Safety Skills for Work courses again. Please find a list of upcoming training below :


Food Safety Course

A one and a half day course will run in Carrigaline and Cobh.  It is useful for anyone looking for work in the food, health or hospitality sectors.  The dates are:



Tuesday, 28th February: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm

Wednesday, 1st March: 10:00 am – 4.30 pm



Wednesday, 15th March: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm

Thursday, 16th March: 10:00 am – 4.30 pm


Safe Pass Course

This two day course will run in Carrigaline and Midleton.  It would be useful for anyone looking for work in construction or as a General Operative.



Monday, 13th March: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Tuesday, 14th March: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm



Tuesday, 7th March: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Wednesday, 8th March: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm


Safe Pass courses will run in Youghal and Macroom towards the end of March or early April. Stay tuned for more on this.  Anyone interested in doing the courses should contact SECAD and they will put them on the list.

If you know of anybody who would like to take part in one of the courses, we would be grateful if you could share this with them or tell them to give SECAD a call at 021 4613432.

The details are also up on the SECAD Facebook page at . All likes and shares would be greatly appreciated.