The Community Volunteers Programme is a new pilot project to support local needs in our communities. It offers a new way to bridge the gap between communities that need support and the people who want to help. It gives people the opportunity to get involved in local events and festivals while also supporting more urgent needs that arise unexpectedly, like the response to COVID-19. The programme will help organisations respond effectively to needs in our communities by allowing them to engage enthusiastic, local Community Volunteers who have raised their hand to say they want to get involved and help out.
Our experience of volunteering during COVID-19 identified a clear need for diverse, trained, and flexible volunteers so that Ireland is better placed to respond quickly, effectively, and professionally in times of local and national need. The programme was developed based on lessons learned from COVID-19 and in consultation with key stakeholders.
It is critical for us that programme supports the local needs of each area, so to ensure we can continue to develop and evolve the programme, we will be rolling it out on a phased basis. Initially, ten Volunteer Centres will deliver the programme in their county with more beginning to deliver a service in 2022.
The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and coordinated by Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres.
Becoming a Community Volunteer is a great opportunity to get involved in your local community by supporting local events and initiatives. It’s a chance to learn more about your local area, meet new people and develop new skills. Plus, it’s great fun! It will give you the opportunity to avail of unique training in understanding volunteering, supporting urgent community responses and volunteering at events and festivals.
It also gives you the chance to take action and make a difference when urgent community needs arise like supporting the response to COVID-19 or helping your community deal with the effects of a water shortage.
It’s the perfect way to volunteer for those who want to get involved in their community but don’t have much time. You can get involved as often or as little as you like when it suits your schedule.
Becoming a partner organisation makes allows you to engage Community Volunteers to support local initiatives, and at shorter notice when unexpected, urgent needs arise.
The programme allows you to engage Community Volunteers through your local Volunteer Centre that have been recruited, interviewed, skill & interest assessed and ID checked.
Volunteers will also be trained in Urgent Community Support and Event Volunteering best practice. Community Volunteers will understand the importance of communication, compassion, confidentiality, manging risks and minding their own wellbeing when volunteering.
The programme will be led by local need and will complement, rather than replace, existing services.