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Volunteers doing their bit for the community

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The North West Volunteer Centre recently launched the Volunteer Impact Assessment Report 2017 at the Derry City and Strabane District Council offices in Strabane. Pictured are local community volunteers and officials, Andy Patton, Patrick McShane, Jason Foley, Aodhan Harkin, Bill McIntrye, Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, Julie Connolly and Leslie Harrington.

VOLUNTEERING in Strabane and surrounding areas is vital for the survival of 90 per-cent of local community organisations, a new report has explained.

The purpose of the North West Volunteer Centre’s volunteer impact assessment report was to highlight the difference volunteers make to organisations locally.

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The report found that nine out of the ten organisations which use volunteers would not exist without them, demonstrating the vital role volunteers play in enhancing the lives of people through the district.

Julie Connolly, co-ordinator of the North West Volunteer centre in Strabane said, “Our volunteer services provide vital support for the local organisations, this has a positive knock-on effect on the entire community. Our findings clearly show that nine out of the ten organisations which use the services of volunteers, would not exist without the commitment and dedication of volunteers who care passionately about their local areas and causes.

“Our role is to support people who want to get involved in volunteering,” continued Julie. “We support organisations in recruiting volunteers and ensuring all the appropriate training and procedures are in place. Every single volunteer is very different and it provides loads of variety to different organisations.”

The North West Volunteer centre was set up in 1983 by the four main churches to improve training and employment for local people.

The aim of the centre’s work is to promote volunteering, recruit and link volunteers to organisations, support local groups and communities, maximise the contribution volunteers make and ensure volunteering is recognised as a positive expression of active citizenship.

The volunteer impact assessment report also found that the majority of organisations work with larger volumes of volunteers than paid staff. In all it reflected a very positive overview of the impacts of volunteering.

“Volunteers make a real difference to people’s lives,” added Julie, “they enhance community activities, support vulnerable people and children, reduce isolation and provide essential services that keep people connected”.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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