The Department of Rural and Community Development are currently developing a new National Volunteering Strategy and issued an initial call for input accompanied by a document that posed a number of questions. The outcome of this CFI and potentially the input from a proposed National Advisory Group will inform the Department’s development of this volunteering strategy.
The key point for Community Work Ireland is that a very clear distinction needs to be made between people that undertake work to address poverty, social exclusion and inequality on a voluntary basis (such as those that serve on boards of Traveller organisations, women’s organisations, domestic violence organisations) and those that ‘volunteer’ to raise funds for a good cause etc but without a positive social change agenda. The former group tends to work on a voluntary over a long period of time compared to the latter that tend to be once-off or periodic. While the latter group provides an essential service to communities, the former is the group is the one that CWI believes needs enhanced recognition of the role and support.