LAST year saw an increase of volunteer registrations with the Clare Volunteer Centre, bringing the total number of volunteers registered to more than 1,400 people, who contributed over 8,563 hours to the local community – up from 7,949 in 2013.
These volunteers are only a small fraction of the estimated 41% of Irish people who volunteered in 2014.
Of the volunteers who signed up in 2014, the most popular areas of interest were befriending/mentoring, retail and teaching/tutoring. The most popular reasons for wanting to volunteer were, to assist career/employment prospects and to make a difference in the community. Nearly two-thirds of the volunteers who signed up with the Clare Volunteer Centre last year had never volunteered before and more than 160 community and voluntary organisations are now registered with Clare Volunteer Centre.
Commenting on 2014, Sharon Meaney, manager with the Clare Volunteer Centre, said, “Every year, we are delighted to see the registration figures for the Clare Volunteer Centre increasing. It’s remarkable to see that the work of Clare volunteers in 2014 amounted to over 8,500 hours but really the difference volunteers make to our community is immeasurable. The activities currently being delivered locally by a network organisations in the community and voluntary sector for young people, the elderly, the environment, local communities and people most in need would not be possible without volunteers.
“The Clare Volunteer Centre is recognised nationally as leading on innovative projects and last year we worked with a number of secondary schools on the ‘Be Part of It’ project.
Twenty-four organisations attended training delivered by the centre on how to encourage more young people to volunteer and remove the barriers that may be stopping young people from making the choice to volunteer. Two hundred and twenty students attended the Expo in Glór, where organisations got the opportunity to witness the enthusiasm, energy and skill sets that young volunteers can bring.”
As well as projects focusing on young people, the centre has been conducting research on the link between volunteering and returning to the workforce.
“Over 12% of the volunteers registered with the centre have directly linked volunteering with gaining employment and we will be building on this research during 2015.”
Sharon went on, “We also offer a garda vetting service for not-for-profit organisations, training, policy support and information”.
For those interested in volunteering, or for groups looking for support on developing their volunteer programme, contact the Clare Volunteer Centre on 065 68 66 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also visit www.volunteerclare.ie to browse through the list of volunteering opportunities available.