NATIONWIDE’S Áine Lally visited the Clare Volunteer Centre last Saturday to see how the centre is celebrating the International Day of Volunteering next Wednesday.
The Clare Volunteer Centre celebrates local communities across the county by demonstrating how a single poem can knit each of them together. The centre embarked on a knitting project with a difference earlier this year where volunteers, community groups and voluntary groups got involved in knitting Clare’s first ever knitted poem.
“We contacted the Nationwide team in RTÉ about our recent Knitting Our Community Together project. Once they heard about this unique and innovative project, which had brought together over 100 individual volunteers and 40 community and voluntary groups, they wanted to come down to Ennis to film the final stages of the knitted poem,” Sharon Meaney, Clare Volunteer Centre manager explained.
As well as looking at the creation of the knitted poem, Ms Lally also wanted to get a sense of the community spirit in Clare by speaking with some of the volunteers who are registered with the centre. She spent the morning meeting Sue, who volunteers with the Ennis Eagles, Carrie and Kathy, who co-ordinate the Shoebox Appeal for the Clare region, organisers of the Ennis Street Festival and Helen McQuillan, who is a community photographer.
The Clare welcome was extended to the afternoon, when they met with volunteers working as part of the finishing team on the knitting project, as well as the winning poet, whose poem is being unveiled by Marty Morrisey at the launch of the Knitting Our Community Together Project.
The initiative came about from a poetry competition run by the centre, which invited people to celebrate local communities by writing a poem on the theme Together we Can Make a Difference and out of 250 entries, they decided to knit the winning poem.
Written by Ciarán Collins, the winning poem will be launched at an event in the volunteer centre next week.
Up to now, the poem itself has been a mystery as each person or group participating in the event was only given a single letter or a blank square to knit.
During the final stage of the process, 12 volunteers were recruited to be part of the finishing team. They were involved in joining the finished squares together to form the final art piece, which will be backed and unveiled in Glór next Wednesday at 11am. The programme is being aired this Friday at 7pm on RTÉ One.
The Clare Volunteer Centre is a one-stop shop for voluntary activity, providing volunteering opportunities for the public, sourcing volunteers for organisations and providing support for organisations in managing and supporting volunteers. The Clare Volunteer Centre works to recognise and acknowledge the valuable contribution that volunteers bring to communities.
For more information about the service, which is based at the West Gate Business Park on the Kilrush Road in Ennis, visit www.volunteerclare.ie.