Council initiative to attract volunteers

Council initiative to attract volunteers

18 March 2020

PEOPLE across the district are being encouraged to get involved in volunteering.

The new initiative is being spearheaded by the Volunteer Now charity which has launched a new online search portal making it easier than ever for individuals, charitable organisations and businesses to get into volunteering. 

The new platform searches and finds locally based volunteering opportunities matched specifically to the volunteer’s skills and interests, with a number of opportunities currently live in the Down area.

Newry, Mourne and Down Council chairman Charlie Casey is backing the new initiative and hopes that people will come forward to volunteer.

Boasting hundreds of unique volunteering opportunities across a range of sectors, the new online platform is the first of its kind to be implemented within the charity sector in Northern Ireland and makes it easier than ever to find volunteering opportunities.

From treading the boards at a local theatre, to caring for guide dog puppies, to helping some of the most vulnerable members of society, the Volunteer Now platform searches and finds locally based volunteering opportunities matched specifically to the volunteer’s skills and interests.

The council chairman said it is “wonderful” to see Volunteer Now leading the way and embracing the latest technology to create a platform that will benefit the entire community. 

“Volunteering is vital to ensure we look after our people and our planet,” he continued.

“This new volunteering portal not only benefits our local charities and community organisations who are calling out for volunteer support, but it also helps individuals and businesses looking to get into volunteering to find the right opportunities that suit their skills and interests.”

Cllr Casey said the local community greatly values and appreciate anyone who gives their time and effort to support any volunteering cause, whether it is once a year or once a week.

He added: “The introduction of this platform is something I am delighted to support and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts it will bring to our community.”

Clara O’Callaghan, volunteering support officer for Newry, Mourne and Down at Volunteer Now, said as Northern Ireland’s regional volunteering organisation, it is continually looking for innovative ways to provide volunteers with the support they need to find relevant opportunities. 

She added: “We are delighted to be working with the majority of local charities and organisations as we introduce this new and exciting development. 

“We want to thank all those organisations and volunteers in this area who have embraced our new platform and have contributed to its growing success.”

The Alzheimer’s Society is just one of many organisations that have partnered with Volunteer Now to promote their live volunteering opportunities via the platform.

Society volunteer Alastair Penny explained that he started volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society as his father had dementia towards the end of his life.

“I just knew I wanted to help people like him,” he continued. “I am involved in the ‘side by side’ support service which means that I meet up with someone living with dementia and help them continue to do the things they enjoy, whether it’s a drive in the countryside, attending a music concert or simply going for a coffee.”

Alastair added: “You never know what’s going to happen in the future and I’d like to think that should I develop dementia later in life, someone might do this for me. I visit up to five people with dementia every week and I find the experience very rewarding.”

For more information on live volunteering opportunities visit