Active Citizenship Week & National Volunteer Day 2011
The Dublin City South Volunteer Centre celebrated this year’s Active Citizenship Week (ACW) and the National Day of Volunteering (NDV) in a big way by hosting an array of events, trainings and projects. The aim of the National Day of Volunteering is to encourage everyone in Ireland to give volunteering a try and show everyone that volunteering can make a big difference and be a lot of fun! Dublin City South pulled out all the stops this year to celebrate the European Year of Volunteering 2011. They made it easy for everyone to get involved by planning and hosting a Volunteer Fair, free life & skills-building trainings, a knit-a-thon and a spring clean for the elderly, to name a few.
The week kicked-off on Saturday the 24th September with one of two Spring Cleans for the Elderly hosted by the Dublin City Council. The centre recruited over 35 volunteers for the Saturday and Tuesday events. Volunteers pulled together and got to scrubbing, gardening and fixing up the sheltered housing units for older people living alone in the Dublin 8/12 areas any way they could. The Dublin City Council and the residents were extremely grateful and impressed by the overwhelming care and help from the volunteers. The event even garnered attention from the Irish Times who came out to film the work and create a video that can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3B7...
There were a number of other projects open to volunteers during the week including a “Playground Makeover”, “PAW Older people’s Sports Day”, “Outdoor Makeover”, “Office Painting” and the “Grand Canal Clean-Up”. The Grand Canal Clean-Up was attended by a number of the presidential candidates to help raise awareness for NVD and volunteering nationally.
Saturday also marked the first of a three-part series in free life and business skill-building trainings. The first was the ‘Active Leadership Training,’ designed to provide trained, knowledgeable and enthusiastic community based physical activity leaders. The other two were Management Techniques Trainings, one focused on effective meetings and facilitation and the other on problem solving and report writing. Dominic Colbert (MBA), a lecturer at the UCD Adult Education Centre, led both management techniques trainings. All of the trainings were open to any volunteers but limited to a certain number to maintain intimate settings that would ensure volunteers got the most out of the trainings. Over 30 people attended the trainings over the course of the week, which were held at local public libraries in the Dublin City South area.
On Tuesday the volunteer centre continued to spread the word about volunteering by presenting to over 100 transition year students at Alexandra College in Miltown, Dublin 6. The students learned about what it means to be a volunteer and how to get involved. Later that week the students gave a presentation to the rest of their school about what they learned. Many of the girls even got involved by helping out at the Spring Clean and Volunteer Fair.
The Education and Literacy Volunteer Information Evening was held on Wednesday evening at the Irish Aid Centre. The information evening was one of the regular bi-monthly volunteer information evenings hosted by the volunteer centre. Each evening the focus is on a different volunteer category and features organisations that are looking to recruit volunteers. The speakers give a short presentation about their organisation and then take questions from the audience. The events are always free and open to the public. Last week’s information evening featured Concern Worldwide, Horn of Africa People’s Aid, The Matt Talbott Community Trust.
The flagship event of ACW was the 3rd annual Volunteer Recruitment Fair, held on Thursday in St. Stephen’s Green from 12 - 5pm. The event was held on a beautiful, warm and sunny September day. Forty organisations attended the fair, including Habitat for Humanity, Focus Ireland, The Suicide Prevention Centre, Conservation Volunteers and many more. Hundreds of people stopped visited the fair which included a short performance by a live band and Irish dancing.
The highlight of the event was when presidential candidate, Gay Mitchell, stopped by the event to personally meet and greet the organisations exhibiting and show his support for the National Day of Volunteering and Active Citizenship Week.
There was plenty of positive feedback from the organisations and future volunteers alike. The fair was one of the most highly attended in the past three years!
The week came to a close on National Volunteer Day, Friday the 30th of September, with one of the other biggest events of the week, the knit-a-thon. The knit-a-thon was nation-wide event where hundreds of people knitted together for charities. Rather than having everyone knit in one place, the volunteer centres across Ireland hosted “knitting sites”. Participants were asked to knit either in the time leading up to NDV or the time immediately after so that they had something to donate. The Dublin City South Volunteer Centre hosted their local knitting stations at Springwool Wool Shop in Walkinstown, Dublin 12 This is Knit in Powerscourt Centre, Dublin 2 and the Food Gallery on Thomas Street, Dublin 8. To highlight the knit-a-thons Dublin City South collaborated with the Computer Clubhouse to produce a promotional video based on the concept of ‘Guerilla Knitting’. The video inspired the Clare Volunteer Centre to make their own video with one of our volunteers knitting a number of items for it! The link can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvyw...;
The biggest part of National Volunteer Day is the volunteers! Dublin City South wanted to do something to show their appreciation to the hundreds of volunteers in the area so created a ‘Volunteer Discount Card.’ They asked local cafes, museums, restaurants and more, to offer a special discount to volunteers who presented the card on the 30th of September. The centre emailed the cards to all of the organisations registered with them and asked them to pass the card on to their volunteers as a thank you. The volunteers and organisations thought the scheme was a great idea and the centre is hoping to make it even larger next year.
In addition to all of the events there were also some smaller projects happening throughout the week including a week-long photo exhibition held in Cafe Noto in Dublin 8. The exhibition was part of the Liberties Multicultural Night held on the 14th of June 2011 as part of the 41st Liberties Festival. As part of the night the volunteer centre ran a photo competition with the theme ‘Many Cultures, One Community’, which enabled photographers to interpret this theme as they saw fit. Winners were judged by top photographer Dragana Jurisic.
The centre also asked volunteers to take photos in local charity shops and document the work volunteers do in the shops. The photos are on Dublin City Volunteer Centre’s Facebook page http://www.flickr.com/photos/volunt...
Overall Active Citizenship Week was one of the most successful to date and the centre hope to build on this year’s success and make next year’s ACW and NVD even better!
Dublin City South Volunteer Centre, 76 Thomas Street, Dublin 8.
Tel: +353 1 473 7482 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Registered in Ireland No 401909. CHY 16525