Times are strange. There is no doubt about it. This “new normal” has been an adjustment for everyone, in terms of work, play, rest, celebration, commiseration and communication. Alongside the network of Volunteer Centres across Ireland, we continue to work diligently on the response to COVID-19 by supporting organisations and volunteers and working within the Community Call.

Despite lockdown-induced cabin fever, the staff at the Sligo Volunteer Centre has rolled with the times, working from home like so many of you and others around the globe. We are here! We continue to support you – whether you want to explore volunteering or are part of a group who are in need of volunteers. Who is on our team and how are we getting on since lockdown?

Ciara Herity“I am the Manager of the Volunteer Centre here in Sligo. I have been working from home since the shutdown. It is challenging with two kids to homeschool and my husband working from home too. We are lucky to have a separate office space. We have a ‘tag-team’ system going on of who is in the office when and who is working downstairs with the kids! I am kept busy on Zoom calls as part of the County Council Community response group, with other Managers from around the Country or with our team of Trustees and of course with the other team members. We are now looking at ‘the new normal’, how our service continues in the future and how we can support other voluntary groups and volunteers to return safely.”

Ciara Herity







Ríona Rochford“I normally work in the office 20 hours per week and currently work from home with three kids: ages 7, 5 and 2. My youngest needs constant attention so it’s quite a juggle! My husband is also working from home. The first few weeks were chaos but, it’s settled now as we adjust to the new normal.

I miss the drive to work, having the chats with Olivia, Ciara, James and the office volunteers. I miss our tea break and going to the toilet without a toddler! I miss our Volunteer Information Sessions where we met and advised people on how to start volunteering. Although I talk to organisations by phone, I miss the meetings where you got to know them in person.

I worry, at times, about how community organisations will survive and adapt. I’m happy to support organizations figure out their ‘new normal’ whenever I can. We will get through this together!”

Ríona Rochford


Olivia Byrne“As a Volunteer Development Officer, I have been coming into the office since the beginning of the shutdown. This gives me a semblance of normality. However, it can be quite lonely and isolating.

As the point of contact for the Service, I answer enquiries as they come in. Things have changed drastically. But volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations are needed now more than ever. We continue to provide a high-quality service for Sligo.

I miss the hustle and bustle of the office when we are here together, sharing ideas and advice. Above all, I miss the chat and the laughs! Email, text and Zoom have been a great help in keeping our team connected.

I look forward to better times ahead, and they’re coming!”

Olivia Byrne




Danielle Nicholson

“For the last two months, I’ve “sat” beside Ciara at the helm of the SVC’s digital communications. There has been a good deal of new information to share and a lot of great stories to communicate. As such, it is a fantastic time to engage with the Sligo volunteer community. For the past 3 years, I have worked from home. So, fortunately, my work station was already in place! I keep a diary beside my computer to record my hours and list daily accomplishments. Email communications are grand but I try not to hesitate and pick up the phone to communicate when appropriate. We are social animals, not machines. Let’s keep connected and not lose perspective!”

Danielle Nicholson