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Mental Health Ireland launches national Volunteer Strategy to ‘open doors’ for new opportunities

Mental Health Ireland has launched its national Volunteer Strategy and Programme at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin ahead of a weeklong celebration of giving back in the community.

The new Volunteer Strategy was launched by the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler TD at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin on Tuesday, 9th of May ahead of National Volunteering Week (15-21st May).

The Volunteer Strategy will support volunteers, develop opportunities and pathways for new volunteers and respond to the changing landscape of volunteering. The Strategy will also provide clear and transparent priorities, objectives and actions that will support the ongoing growth and development of volunteering.

Research shows that being a volunteer is good for our mental health. It boosts skills, community connection and a sense of purpose. The Volunteer National Strategy is designed to note the key challenges a volunteer may face and to propose practical solutions, so the focus and quality of the work is sustained. The Strategy looks at the whole life cycle of volunteering from induction and training through to ongoing support and development.

Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler TD said “It gives me great pleasure to launch Mental Health Ireland’s National Volunteer Strategy 2023-2026 and Recruitment Programme. Over the last few years Mental Health Ireland has been a constant presence in our communities, through its Associations and volunteers, providing guidance and support to people with mental health difficulties and making a huge difference to the quality of people’s lives and the lives of their families. We cannot under-estimate the importance of having a National Volunteer Strategy to protect both organisations and the volunteers who give so generously of their time and expertise.”

Georgina Lawless, Fundraising, Engagement & Volunteer Manager, Mental Health Ireland said: “We are delighted to officially launch the Volunteer Strategy and Recruitment Programme that will open the doors to volunteers both nationally and locally for mental health Ireland. Roles vary from administrative volunteers to strategic and creative volunteers to fundraising and helps bridge the gaps we might have for particular projects and allow volunteers to use their skills to fill these gaps. These projects are rewardable and fun not to mention dynamic. We value people’s time and understand that flexibility is vital so people can pick and choose programmes and tasks that suit them and the availability they have.”

Steven O’Neill, volunteer with Mental Health Ireland and Partner Business Manager with corporate partner Hewlett Packard Enterprise said: “I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering with Mental Health Ireland for well over a year now. During this time I’ve learned new skills, made some lifelong friends and had the experience of really being able to impact other people’s lives both personally and in my work life. Volunteering with MHI is incredibly rewarding and with the variety of opportunities available, there’s something for everyone no matter what their interest or skills. A by-product of my volunteering with MHI has been the positive impact it’s had on my own mental health. I’ve never been in a better place and volunteering with MHI has really been a big part of that.”

Zsé Varga, Volunteering Development Programme Manager with Volunteering Ireland said: “Volunteer Ireland was delighted to support the development of this strategy. I’d like to congratulate Mental Health Ireland on their commitment to best practice in volunteer engagement and recognising the value of volunteering to their organisation. It’s fitting that the strategy was launched to coincide with National Volunteering Week – a week dedicated to all things volunteering, showcasing the impact volunteers have on communities across Ireland.”

Mental Health Ireland will be hosting a range of Volunteer Information Sessions throughout the summer and welcome any questions people might have which can be emailed to Volunteering@MentalHealthIreland.ie Register your interest to volunteer with Mental Health Ireland and download the National Volunteer Strategy here: https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/volunteer/