The brand new Laois Volunteer Centre has officially been launched.
Yesterday, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien revealed that centres would be established in Kilkenny, Leitrim, Laois, Offaly, Roscommon, Waterford and Wexford – meaning there is now one in every county.
The Laois Volunteer Centre, which hopes to have an office by the Autumn, is fronted by Laois woman Caitriona Ryan – who hails from Ballyfin.
It will help people who want to volunteer in their community to find suitable volunteer roles and will help local non-profit organisations to recruit volunteers.
Ms Ryan said that work to get the Centre, which has charitable status, full operational has been delayed by Covid-19 restrictions but significant progress is now being made.
She said a Laois Volunteer Centre office will open and additional staff are being recruited to place volunteers with local organisations.
She added that the Centre will in time provide advice, training, and consultancy to local organisations on a range of issues relating to best practice in volunteer management and delivers a Garda Vetting service for local non-profits.
The aims of Laois Volunteer Centre are: to promote the value of volunteering and civic responsibility and to increase the range and quality of volunteering; to increase access to volunteering by offering a support service to the public and volunteering involving organisations (VIOs) and; to carry on these charitable purposes for the benefit of the inhabitants of Laois and its environs.
To fulfil these aims and in turn enrich the Laois community, Caitriona Ryan has already begun engaging with organisations to discuss volunteering opportunities which will be of benefit to both them and to their volunteers.
A volunteer application portal and database for Laois known as ‘I-Vol’ has now been established and therefore provides the following services to organisations: Advertisement of organisation’s volunteering vacancies on Laois Volunteer Centre’s database (I-Vol) of volunteering roles; free volunteer referral service; training to organisations on issues such as volunteer management; consultancy and advice around policy issues and governance in relation to your volunteer programmes and; Garda Vetting service for organisations.
The following board members have also been appointed: Conor Ganley (chairperson), Allan Boyle (secretary), Catherine Corbett (treasurer), Pauline Flanagan (director) and Georgina Ireland (director).
I am so delighted to be the Manager of this new Laois Volunteer Centre,” commented Ms Ryan.
“This is a very exciting time for Laois and I greatly look forward to working with people and organisations who want to volunteer in Laois and connecting them for volunteering opportunities for the benefit of the individual and their communities.
“I would urge people and community groups to get in touch with our centre by logging onto any of our social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram or at www.volunteerlaois.ie”