People are urged to lend a hand during volunteering week
AS NATIONAL Volunteering Week gets under way, County Wicklow Volunteer Centre is asking the public to consider how they might contribute to their community and make a difference.
According to a new survey by Volunteer Ireland, 67 per cent of people who volunteer feel an increased sense of belonging to their community and 70 per cent felt it gives them an increased sense of inclusion and not being alone.
Leah Kinsella, Manager of County Wicklow Volunteer Centre, singled out this link between volunteering and connected communities as the focus of this year’s campaign.
‘Volunteering builds better communities, it really is as simple as that,’ she said. ‘From local Tidy Towns groups to Community First Responders and the parents coaching their children’s sports teams – coming together to give back makes a community stronger.
When people volunteer they feel closer to their community and the people in it, and they take pride in their community.’
Ms Kinsella said that Ireland has a strong culture of volunteering and this was again clear during the recession.
‘Volunteers in communities that were hit hard came together to do what they could to keep their town centre alive, planting flowers to brighten up the area or working together to create local events and festivals.
‘ This culture has only gotten stronger since then as Irish communities continue to feel the impact of locals who make a difference.’
National Volunteering Week began on Monday and continues until Sunday, May 20.
According to Ms Kinsella there is a volunteer opportunity to suit everyone. ‘ There is a wide variety of roles suitable for people of all ages and skill level,’ she said. ‘And giving back doesn’t always mean a huge time commitment either. Small actions can make a big difference to a community.’
To find out more, call the centre on 01 2040884 or 086 3258803, go to volunteerwicklow.ie or email email@example.com. CELEBRITIES will strut their stuff alongside models with disabilities at a Fabulous Fashion event to raise funds for children who attend St Catherine’s.
Dr Ciara Kelly of Operation Transformation, broadcaster and former news correspondent Charlie Bird, author Cathy Kelly and Design Doctor Garry Cohn joined models Cathy Macken and Kiera Broe for a wardrobe fitting ahead of the big event, which takes place at 7 p.m. at Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy on Wednesday, May 23.
While they both have disabilities, Cathy and Kiera keep the focus firmly on their abilities and are looking forward to putting themselves in the spotlight when they hit the catwalk.
St Catherine’s works with 200 children from babies to 18 years with moderate to profound physical and intellectual disabilities.
‘I was a GP in Wicklow and worked with many of the families with children attending St Catherine’s,’ said Dr Ciara Kelly about her decision to get involved in the fundraiser. ‘I know how hard it is for these families and there are never enough services. So I am delighted to be able to support this event,’
Cathy Kelly has visited St Catherine’s in the past and was also happy to do her bit to help.
‘I am a UNICEF ambassador and have visited St Catherine’s and seen the children and the staff and the conditions they are working under. I have seen the work they are doing under unbelievable conditions. Society will be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable,’ said Cathy.
Proceeds from the ‘Fabulous Fashion’ event will go towards development projects and equipment for St Catherine’s.
Tickets cost €25 and include wine, finger food and live music. There will also be lucky envelope and raffle draws.
Tickets are available from St Catherine’s, Shelby Dinelli at (087) 2825459 or Fishers.
Seán with the August 11, 1989, issue of the Wicklow People.
Seán and Joanie in Newtownmountkennedy during her recent visit.
Cathy Macken, Kiera Broe, Cathy Kelly and Dr Ciara Kelly at the wardrobe fitting ahead of the fashion show on Wednesday, May 23, in Newtownmountkennedy.