SVP is urgently seeking new vo...


SVP is urgently seeking new volunteers in Cork for a range of roles as calls for assistance reach record levels

RedFM News
RedFM News

09:14 26 Jan 2023

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SVP say whilst the organisation has been overwhelmed with the generosity and financial support from the public over the past three years, the restrictions associated with Covid has taken its toll on membership numbers and SVP is now seeking to rebuild its volunteer base in the Cork city area

The Society has volunteer roles in wide number of areas and welcomes people of all ages and genders and they would also welcome volunteers who do not speak English or Irish as their first language to help their work with some of Cork's newest residents.

SVP says volunteers only need empathy, an open mind and an open heart and training will be given for everything else.

Kate Durrant, who volunteers within the food conference she founded seven years ago which fed over 2500 families this Christmas alone and supports up to 800 people each week struggling with food poverty added, "It's heartbreaking seeing people struggle, but I cannot describe the satisfaction of being able to ease that load a little, knowing that children are going to bed with full stomachs and that breakfast will be there for them when they wake up."

Rose Adair who, among other responsibilities organises training for new volunteers, said, "Education is another area where SVP makes a huge difference, enabling young people to stay in school and continue their education by providing financial and pastoral support, and practical help too such as travel tickets. We forget that sometimes it's the very basics like not having the bus fare that can cause someone to fall through the cracks."

"With the housing crisis at the forefront of everyone's mind it is heartening to know that the quiet dignified assistance SVP offer to those who reach out to us is helping to keep people in their homes before they fall into the trap of homelessness, something we all dread," Donal Shanahan points out, highlighting the need for new volunteers to continue this often overlooked work.

Janet Tynan draws attention to yet another contribution that volunteers make, noting that, "As the country heads into a cost of living crisis unlike anything we have seen before it's important for people to know that, in addition to giving practical help, SVP volunteers also bring hope and the knowledge that whatever someone is going through they are not going through it on their own, that we are there to walk that road with them."

Julie Anne Ramsell Vice President Cork concluded, "Some volunteers choose to stay and help within the area they live in, while others would rather move to an area where they know nobody, and with 41 conferences in the Cork area we can facilitate that. We have volunteers who visit and assist those in their homes, those who assist those in prison, some who make up boxes of food to support families struggling with food poverty, others who work in our holiday home to offer a weeks holiday to children who may otherwise never be able to go on holiday, and those who volunteer within our social housing."

SVP helps in a wide variety of ways and within the organisation there is an opportunity for everyone who would like to volunteer to put their talents and experience to good use.

Within the greater Cork area calls for assistance to the Regional office during the last twelve months increased by of 20% to 16,500 and SVP volunteers looked after 1400 families every month with up to 5000 families being looked after in the pre Christmas period.

To find out more about how you can help SVP help others you are invited to an open evening at the Aula Maxima, UCC, on Monday January 30th, from 7.30pm, if you are unable to attend or would like to find out more please contact Ellmarie SVP Membership Officer on 021 4270444 / 086-1837273 or be email to [email protected]

What SVP members say about the work of the charity and experience of volunteering;

"For me it was a dark November evening, when my SVP colleague Bridget and I were in my car outside one of the emergency accommodation units in the city centre. A single mother was crying hopelessly in the back while her daughter slept on her lap. It was the warmest place she had been all day. They had been run out of their rented accommodation by antisocial behaviour with nowhere to go. We supported them for the next while, visiting, writing supporting references, just being there. And then one day it finally happened and both moved into their new home. We were invited in and when leaving I looked at her her daughter and thought to myself "she's safe now". When I returned home, passing my own children's bedrooms my only thoughts were - "how lucky we are". As a volunteer, to fully appreciate what you have -that's the greatest feeling of all." Alan, SVP Volunteer

"We met this single parent family with three children way back when they were really struggling. We were so impressed with how they managed and the parent's absolute commitment to education that we kept in contact over the years. Just chats really, and then one day we received a call. The eldest was heading into 6th year and had a clear goal and degree in mind. But maths looked like it could be a problem. We knew of some really good teachers and arranged help. Then one Monday evening while the conference was meeting, we received yet another call. The CAO offers were out and the first preference was in the bag. We did none of the heavy lifting, none of the hard work or study, but to be part of this student's journey in life, even from a distance, was a wonderful feeling. We all left the meeting that evening with a smile on our faces and a spring in our steps!" Mary and Margaret, SVP Volunteers

"Did you know that this Christmas the SVP delivered toys to more than 2,500 children in the greater Cork city area. But having delivered toys to literally thousands of families over the years I know exactly what a difference we make. As a volunteer I see poverty all the time and we do our best to help families deal with the everyday challenges that life presents. But at Christmas it's different and I help find, select and deliver all kinds of toys to children with so many needs. Every child should wake up to find something special under the tree on Christmas morning. That's some of the magic of Christmas and it's wonderful to be part of that." Denis, SVP Volunteer.

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