Ruth Fagan of Volunteer Galway talks us through what volunteering means to the people of Galway…
Volunteer Galway has been operating since 2006 providing support to people to find meaningful volunteer roles and to organisations in all areas of volunteer management. I’m very happy to be part of our team here for almost the same length of time. Similar to living here in Galway, I have found that my experience of working in this area has meant that there is always something that will take me by surprise, inspire me and often delight me. And for me, that’s people.
Volunteer Galway has on average 100 members of the public accessing our service online every month, with our team meeting about half of these people for one to one appointments. So why are so many people continually accessing our service? The reasons are varied, and all are very valid.
Some people are looking for experience in a particular field and would like to ‘test the waters’ before taking the plunge towards a complete career change. Others are currently studying or wishing to get into a course and want to get the hands on experience of working in a particular area.
For many, who are currently unemployed filling the day is their main concern as well as keeping their current skills up to date. Above and beyond all of this, there is one universal and common thread; people need people. We meet people who simply want to develop connections in their community by meeting others, sharing skills, helping out those in need and hopefully making friends in the process. In other words ‘The Feel Good Factor!’
Within my role here in Volunteer Galway to be witness to a diverse range of people moving through transition in their lives and taking up volunteering as a vehicle towards real personal change is something I’m truly grateful for, that I’m often humbled by, and that I don’t ever want to take for granted. Individual success stories of people making an active conscious choice to give back in their local communities, while often in the face of adversity, are stories that while so deserving of it, will never make headline news, but that people living in communities know only too well. And Galway is no stranger to this.
There are many unsung heroes living amongst us. The people who deliver daily meals to the elderly, support children with their homework, actively listen to those in need, dedicate their time every week to help the most vulnerable in their community, ultimately the people that bring their heart
with them in the work that they do, that chose to be of service, these are the people that create a vital energy that those living in local communities thrive on and ultimately sustain themselves upon.
In past years volunteering has been perceived by many as “something good to do”, or perhaps something that “only the good people do”. However I believe the perception of volunteering today is now massively shifting and translating into “the best thing to do” and most definitely “the right
thing to do”. And if this is what volunteering can mean for Galway then the future is looking bright.
So for anyone thinking about taking up something new this year or indeed for those who have always wanted to try it but didn’t know how, check us out at www.volunteergalway.ie or call 091581727. And feel free to come & chat to me at our stand on March 14th at the Galway Technology Centre. We’d be happy to lend you a hand in your goal towards a better you!