Leitrim Volunteering Information Service Welcomes First Steps Towards National Volunteering Strategy

Leitrim Volunteering Information Service Welcomes First Steps Towards National Volunteering Strategy

Leitrim Volunteering Information Service has today welcomed the publication of a call for input on the proposed national volunteering strategy by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Ireland has a historically strong culture of volunteering, ranking number one in Europe for giving time[1] with about 1 million people giving back each year[2]. According to Leitrim VIS , volunteering requires strong organisations and managers able to provide volunteers with meaningful, safe and rewarding roles.

Leitrim VIS Coordinator, Bernie Donoghue commented: “The incredible generosity that Irish people show in giving their time for others has led to volunteering being embedded at the heart of Irish communities. However, there are many challenges facing the future of volunteering that need to be addressed. Volunteering needs to be adequately resourced, and the way people want to volunteer is changing: People are increasingly looking for more skills-based and short-term roles, and organisations need support to meet this changing demand. We need to address these challenges now if we want to remain a leading country in volunteering.”

Research conducted by Volunteer Ireland in 2017[3], showed that volunteering has a range of positive benefits to the individual including improved physical and mental health along with an increased sense of belonging to the community and decreased loneliness.   Following the publication of a report by Leitrim VIS on the need for a volunteer centre in Co. Leitrim[4], lead author Caillin Reynolds stated that “rural areas in particular rely on the hard work and goodwill of volunteers to provide much needed services to rural communities.  There is a strong culture of volunteerism in small rural counties like Leitrim, but it needs to be nurtured and supported”.

Kathleen Flanagan, Leitrim VIS Support Officer added: “This national volunteering strategy has the potential to create the best possible environment for volunteering allowing volunteers, organisations and society to reap the benefits.

“Along with Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres, we’ve been advocating for a national volunteering strategy for a number of years and we’re delighted to see the Government casting the net far and wide for input before it develops the strategy. Volunteers impact on all corners of society and also support a number of public services including the emergency services and health. This strategy is important, not just to the quarter of the population who volunteer and the organisations they support, but to the communities across the country who feel the tangible impact of volunteering every day.”

Leitrim VIS encourages all interested parties to make a submission to the call for input. To inform Leitrim VIS’s submission, the organisation will host a regional consultation in the New Year in partnership with Volunteer Ireland and our fellow Volunteer Centres in the region. Details of the consultation will be available on www.volunteerinleitrim.ie  shortly.

[1] https://www.cafonline.org/docs/default-source/about-us-publications/caf_wgi2018_report_webnopw_2379a_261018.pdf

[2] https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/q-vwb/qnhsvolunteeringandwellbeingq32013/

[3] https://www.volunteer.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Volunteer_Ireland-Report_FINAL.pdf

[4] https://sway.office.com/hywLiPzxtvw77x1C?ref=Link

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This project received grant aid from the Leitrim Development Company Rural Development Programme which is financed by the Irish government under the Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2012 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas.