Department of Rural and Community Development: Minister O’Brien launches a New National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme

Department of Rural and Community Development Press Release,

Minister O’Brien launches a New National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme

17th Spetember, 2021:

  • Louth one of seven counties to pilot programme
  • Initiative is built on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Designed to ensure that communities are better placed to respond quickly and effectively

Joe O’Brien TD Minster of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, has launched a new National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme in partnership with Volunteer Ireland and Volunteer Centres, supported by Local Authorities. 

This exciting new volunteering initiative is a government led, nationally formulated programme for the whole of Ireland which will be adapted to suit local needs and build resilience in our communities. 

It offers a new way to bridge the gap between communities that need support and the people who want to help. It gives people the opportunity to get involved in local events and festivals while also supporting more urgent needs that arise unexpectedly, like the community response to COVID-19.

The programme will help organisations respond effectively to needs in our communities by allowing them to engage enthusiastic, trained, local Community Volunteers through their local Volunteer Centres.

The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and coordinated by Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres, with support from their Local Authority, in each area.

Speaking about the initiative Minister Joe O’Brien said:

“I am delighted to launch the New National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme. The launch is another step towards implementing the objectives of the National Volunteering Strategy and also the Government’s commitment in the Resilience and Recovery Plan. 

“Volunteers over the last 18 months have been phenomenal and this launch today helps to strengthen the bond between Volunteers, Local Authorities and the community. 

“I would ask all those that wish to take part in this programme to contact their local Volunteer Centre. Volunteering and community engagement is a key element as we reopen our society and support each other as we adjust to living with COVID-19.”

Gráinne Berrill, Manager, Louth Volunteer Centre added:

“We are delighted to coordinate the Community Volunteers Programme with the network of local Volunteer Centres.

“Built on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 response and extensive experience supporting volunteering in our communities, we are excited that this programme will give those who want to get involved in their communities a new opportunity to play their part and connect with what’s going on in their area.

“It will provide extra support to organisations looking to engage volunteers in local events and initiatives, particularly when more urgent needs arise unexpectedly.

“This is a unique time for volunteering as we implement Ireland’s first national volunteering strategy, and this programme has a huge role to play as we continue to strengthen and support volunteering in our communities.”

Chief Executive of Louth County Council, Ms. Joan Martin said:

 “Louth County Council is delighted to support the Community Volunteer Programme. There is a history of strong community participation in Louth, not least during COVID-19 where the Community Call saw an increase in us all working together for the common good. As an inclusive, accessible County Council, we look forward to strengthening our ties with local Volunteer groups, indeed one of the strategic aims of our Corporate Plan is to make our communities great places to live and volunteer – where everyone takes pride in their local area.

 Louth County Council has a very long and successful history of close cooperation and collaboration with the Louth Volunteer Centre, whose offices sit alongside our own in Drogheda and Dundalk    We look forward to deepening that working relationship under this new initiative”

Those who are interested in the Community Volunteer Programme are encouraged to contact their local volunteer centre.

Minister-O’Brien-launches-a-New-National-Pilot-Community-Volunteers-Programme.docx (size 1.3 MB)