22 May 2022

New Kilkenny Volunteer Centre will tap into the great spirit of volunteerism in the county

Kilkenny Kilkenny

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The great spirit of volunteerism in Kilkenny is set to grow with the launch of the Kilkenny Volunteer Centre. 

A new centre will link those in Kilkenny who would like to volunteer their time with the groups and organisations that need the support. 

The Kilkenny Volunteer Centre is part of a national structure of 29 centres affiliated to Volunteer Ireland, and a registered charity.

Officially launching the new centre and website, Salena Grace, manager of the centre, told Kilkenny councillors that the centre will keep a database of volunteering vacancies that people can see on their website, and they can offer advice and support to people who want to volunteer.

Organisations can also register with the Centre to offer volunteering opportunities as well as avail of training and support services. 

The Centre is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Highlighting the importance of volunteering, Ms Grace said not only has it been shown that volunteers feel more satisfied, are more employable and feel improved physical and mental health, volunteering is also important to the wider society and economy. If all volunteers in Ireland were to be paid a minimum wage it would come to more than €2billion a year.

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Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, Andrew McGuinness, said volunteerism is something a lot of people in Kilkenny take great pride in and it makes a positive difference in peoples’ lives. Especially since lockdown we have seen how many people are willing to give their time to others.

Cllr Peter Chap Cleere said there is a great spirit of volunteerism in Kilkenny city and county and to have the new centre as a conduit between volunteers and organisations will be fantastic. Many people volunteer  because they want to and they enjoy it, he said. 

Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh said it was wonderful to see support for volunteers and training back up. “You don't have to be old or retired to volunteer,” she said. 

Cllr Maria Dollard said the center will be fantastic for Kilkenny and pointed out that there are opportunities to volunteer in many ways, and not all roles are face-to-face.

Ms Grace said insurance cover for volunteers will be a matter for the organisations they get involved with. In response to a query from Cllr Martin Brett she said there will be a small charge for Garda Vetting. All training and support for organisations will be free. 

The Kilkenny Volunteer Centre will give a great focus and helping hand to many organisations, Cllr Pat Fizpatrick said. “Volunteerism and volunteering is an important part of the Irish psyche and we in Kilkenny are no different,” he added. 

Cllr John Coonan said the centre will be a huge asset to the city and county.

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