Running last week, September 21st to the 27th, National Volunteering Week 2020 was packed with a range of well-being activities aimed at giving thanks to the local volunteering communities. We, at the Sligo Volunteer Centre, organised a varied, week-long series of events to appeal to as many volunteers as possible. Now, we take a pause and reflect on what we did, how the plans’ strands came together and how we as a team feel it went in order to help us grow.
The week kicked off with Meet Up Monday. Olivia Byrne, Volunteer Development Officer and Garda Vetting expert in the Centre hosted an online chat via Zoom for volunteers or those interested to get involved to come together for an informal chat over a cuppa. The event ran from 10:30- 11:30 AM and was advertised via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Eventbrite. Six people attended.
Day two, Thank You Tuesday, was an all-day event organised in conjunction with 15 Sligo Food Trail (https://sligofoodtrail.ie/) member cafes. At each cafe, the first five people to identify themselves as a volunteer with a specified Sligo organisation received a free coffee. We promoted this all-day event through our social media channels but in addition, printed and distributed posters and digital images for the cafes to promote their involvement, as well. Volunteers were very appreciative to get a free cup of coffee and take some time out.
On Tuesday, Sligo Volunteer Centre Manager, Ciara Herity was interviewed by RTE at the Drumcliffe Tea House and appeared on the national news! “We were delighted to feature some wonderful volunteers during National Volunteering Week, as well as to collaborate with local Sligo Food Trail member coffee shops to offer free coffees for volunteers on Thank You Tuesday. It is so important these days that the whole community support each other and keep connected.” We also had input from some wonderful volunteers from around the County saying how their volunteering roles have evolved through COVID-19.
Read the RTE news story as reported by Eileen Magnier, North West Correspondent here.
Following on, Wellness Wednesday was an online, evening affair which took place from 7:30- 8:30 PM via Zoom. Havin’ A Laugh charity’s Bláithín Sweeney expertly led six participants through a live Chair Yoga session. We think it is fair to say that everyone involved took time, relaxed, unwound from the events of their busy week. For several in attendance, this was a first with Chair Yoga. Feedback was immediate and positive.
On day four, Ríona Rochford, one of our Volunteer Development Officers, moderated Talk Thursday. You can now view snippets from this event on our YouTube channel. This was a noon online discussion with Sligo volunteers involved organisations currently in need of additional people to join their teams. The event introduced attendees to five organisations: Age Action, the Samaritans, the No Name! youth club in Tubbercurry, the NCBI Charity Shop, and the North West Simon Community. These offer vital services in County Sligo, such as:
- Fundraising for Homelessness
- Helping older people to use their smartphones/tablets to keep in touch with others
- Running a mental health 24/7 helpline
- Funding support services for blind or visually impaired people through retail sales
- Positive alternatives to alcohol and drug-centred activities for young people
Eleven people attended in total and after introductions and information were given the opportunity to ask questions about roles, responsibilities, training and ‘people person’ requirements. Take a look at 4 of the speakers here.
The week wrapped up with Follow Us Friday. Here, we aimed to amass some new followers on our social channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. New followers who liked and shared our Follow Us Friday post were included in a drawing for one of three book vouchers for Liber book store in Sligo Town. The lucky winners are:
- Anne Hunt
- Jim Gray
- Martha Davey