National Volunteering Week in Sligo Blog 5: Mary McKeon North West Simon Community

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Mary Mc Keon is my name and I have been working for North West Simon Community for over 8 years now covering the Sligo/Leitrim area. I do all the fundraising for this region, marketing and social media, presentations, volunteer recruitment and management and most recently the promotion of the North West Simon new charity shop on JFK Parade, Sligo.  I enjoy my work as I like meeting people, making new contacts, networking and engaging with volunteers.

There is a genuine spirit of cooperation and shared goals all revolving around helping those less fortunate in our own area. The diversity of the work that I do ensures that no day is like any other, and I am always focused on bettering the organisation, which makes you feel good when the day is done.

I manage the volunteer programme for fundraising events throughout the year; I do this very successfully with the support of the Sligo Volunteer Centre and various contacts in schools and companies etc. Volunteer Management is about having a system which manages the volunteer process, knowing what role suits each volunteer. It is important to have appropriate training, support and supervision in place as well as a good screening and selection process. We have volunteers for once off events each year like the church gate collectors, street collections, flag days and bag packs. Others volunteer on a regular basis giving 2 to 3 hrs or half a day once a week in the charity shop. Others volunteer around Christmas to assist with the food and gift appeal. We have a volunteer who designs posters for us for fundraising events. Students volunteer as part of their Gaisce Award from time to time. Students studying Social Care like to volunteer with us as it is very appropriate on their CV for career progression. We have volunteers from all walks of life – students, retired people, young and old. I match the volunteer role to suit that particular person. Some like to volunteer as part of a group and others are quite happy to be alone.

Volunteering is commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of society and local communities and of course builds better communities. Volunteering provides greater community spirit; you are freely giving your time for the betterment of others. Individuals benefit as they are more committed to their local community and feel they are giving something back. Volunteering creates and cultivates a community that cares. Involving others in volunteering can increase the positive effects you have on your community. Volunteering with those around you can be a great way to meet new people and make friends, especially if you’re new to the community and it can enrich your life.

Potential volunteers can go to our website and fill out a volunteer form and we will get back to them, they can volunteer through our facebook page also or drop into our office at 4 JFK Parade, Sligo to pick up a volunteer form and meet with us. We couldn’t do our work without the support of our valuable volunteers even if this commitment is only once or twice a year, volunteers do matter.

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