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Volunteering at home and abroad

Friday, 25 September 2009

Many people are finding that they have more time on their hands. Some people have found themselves with skills that can be used in a volunteering capacity. On the show today we will be looking at options for volunteering at home and abroad.

Today, 25th September is Give it a Swirl Day, organized by VCI (Volunteering Center of Ireland). The national day of Volunteering in Ireland. Give it a Swirl Day gives those who do not already volunteer on a regular basis an opportunity to see how enriching it can be for one day and, hopefully, encourage them to continue for a couple of hours a week.

And the Irish Aid Responsible Volunteering Fair takes place on the 26th September 2009 at their head quarters on O'Connell Street. More than 24 charitable groups will have stands and you can find out about the type of volunteers they are looking of for their overseas work. These include Niall Mellon Township Trust, Suas, Hope Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.

In the studio today we have Denise Chambers to talk about her volunteer work, with her dog Setanta - a deerhound therapy dog ( Sentanta is a rescue dog). Denise and Setanta are volunteers with Irish Therapy Dogs. They physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people - young and old - in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support.

Setanta the dog was a rescued dog adopted 5 years ago when I was walking dogs as a volunteer for the Animal Foundation. He had been abandoned and was in very bad condition barely able to walk, he is still on weekly medication for this.

For the past few years he has been in the school all during the year helping to
Christmas: the Junior and senior infants collect presents for the abandoned greyhounds at the Dog Action Welfare sanctuary in Cork ( I have adopted two of their greyhounds).
Hallowe'en: to be part of a talk on keeping dogs safe at Hallowe'en.
Summer: as part of a talk on dogs and summer heat.
Also the pupils have taken photos of him to use in Powerpoint presentations on how to look after a dog.

He also visits two nursing homes, Hazel Hall, Clane and Willowbrook, Newbridge and Sallins National School, and accompanies Denise on charity street collections Dog Rescue Ireland

Denis Mahoney, is from Dublin. Denis left his job in AIB Bank to become a VSO volunteer in March 2007 and spent 18 months working as an IT advisor in Ethiopia at Jimma University.

VOLUNTEERING WITH VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas)
Volunteering overseas is one of the most rewarding ways you can make a real difference to people living in the toughest circumstances. Irish people have a long tradition of working with the world's poorest people, through missionary work or volunteering.

As the world's leading volunteer sending agency, VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) sends volunteers abroad to tackle the root causes of global poverty. Working on long-term, sustainable solutions, volunteers from a teaching, business or nursing background amongst others devote 2 years of their lives to a placement.

Nothing compares with the satisfaction of translating generosity into practical, life-changing achievements, and VSO volunteers are the living example. VSO works in 44 of the world's poorest countries, mainly located in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Volunteers are provided with flights and accommodation and encouraged to fundraise rather than pay expensive fees.
VSO is currently recruiting for 1-2 year volunteer placements. If you are an outstanding professional with a degree and at least five years' work experience, plus the motivation to improve the lives of others, VSO wants to hear from you. VSO is especially interested in primary teachers and school principals this year who are urgently needed to improve the quality of teaching practices across the globe.

Apply to VSO
To become a VSO volunteer visit, email or call the Dublin office on 01-8147070 to speak to the VSO team.

Meet VSO

VSO will be attending the Irish Aid Volunteer Fair on Saturday 26 September 2009 in the Irish Aid Volunteer and Information Centre, O'Connell Street, Dublin. See for more details.

VOLUNTEERING WITH VCI - Volunteer Center of Ireland

Give it a Swirl Day, the national day of volunteering, is organized by the Volunteer Centers Ireland and is happening this Friday 25th of September.

More than 5,000 people are expected to volunteer a few hours of their time on the Give it a Swirl Day with more than 150 organizations involved in every county in Ireland through the 20 volunteer centers across the country.

A further 10,000 people are expected to take part in a "Give it a Swirl- Dance the Streets" recording breaking attempt in Tralee (see below), and two thousand more are expected to take part in a sponsored fast for a charity in Cork.

Volunteering has also seen a massive increase over the past year (up more than 115%), as more people have more time on their hands due to unemployment or underemployment - the number of organizations seeking volunteers is also massively increasing.

Volunteer Centres Ireland (VCI) is the representative body for Ireland's community of Volunteer Centres. VCI manage the only national database of volunteering opportunities through its website. As well as coordinating activities for the national day of volunteering, VCI regularly contribute to the debate on the role of the voluntary sector in Ireland.

For a full list of volunteering opportunities in your local area just log on to

As per
This Saturday Irish Aid Volunteers is holding a fair at their head quarters on O'Connell Street. More than 24 charitable groups will have stands and you can find out about the type of volunteers they are looking of for their overseas work. Construction workers and nurses are among those in demand to work in developing countries.

The theme of this fair is "responsible volunteering" and each of the organizations will host information stands. In addition, staff from 10 organizations will give presentations on their work, the skills they are seeking and the opportunities available. The fair is free and open to the public.

For further information on the fair and volunteering, visit or call in to the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre on O'Connell Street, Dublin.