Minister O’Brien launches a New National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme

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  • Initially running in seven counties with ten Volunteer Centres
  • Pilot programme is built on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Designed to ensure that communities are better placed to respond quickly and effectively


DRCD Press Office <press.office@drcd.gov.ie>. 14th September 2021

Joe O’Brien TD Minster of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, today (14th September), launched a new National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme in partnership with Volunteer Ireland and Volunteer Centres, supported by Local Authorities.

This exciting new volunteering initiative is a government led, nationally formulated programme for the whole of Ireland which will be adapted to suit local needs and build resilience in our communities. It offers a new way to bridge the gap between communities that need support and the people who want to help. It gives people the opportunity to get involved in local events and festivals while also supporting more urgent needs that arise unexpectedly, like the community response to COVID-19.

The programme will help organisations respond effectively to needs in our communities by allowing them to engage enthusiastic, trained, local Community Volunteers through their local Volunteer Centres.

The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and coordinated by Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres, with support from their Local Authority, in each area.


Speaking today, Minister Joe O’Brien said:

“I am delighted to be here today to launch the New National Pilot Community Volunteers Programme. The launch today is another step towards implementing the objectives of the National Volunteering Strategy and also the Government’s commitment in the Resilience and Recovery Plan.  Volunteers over the last 18 months have been phenomenal and this launch today helps to strengthen the bond between Volunteers, Local Authorities and the community.  I would ask all those that wish to take part in this programme to contact their local Volunteer Centre. Volunteering and community engagement is a key element as we reopen our society and support each other as we adjust to living with COVID-19.”


Amy Woods, Acting CEO, Volunteer Ireland added:

“We are delighted to coordinate the Community Volunteers Programme with the network of local Volunteer Centres. Built on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 response and extensive experience supporting volunteering in our communities, we are excited that this programme will give those who want to get involved in their communities a new opportunity to play their part and connect with what’s going on in their area. It will provide extra support to organisations looking to engage volunteers in local events and initiatives, particularly when more urgent needs arise unexpectedly. This is a unique time for volunteering as we implement Ireland’s first national volunteering strategy, and this programme has a huge role to play as we continue to strengthen and support volunteering in our communities.”


Tim Lucey, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Cork County Council on behalf of the local government sector said:

“Ireland has a proud tradition of community engagement and volunteerism, which was a huge support to local authorities in managing the Community response to Covid-19. We are extremely grateful to the many enthusiastic and committed volunteers who were involved, and we are delighted that the Community Volunteers Programme will build on the successful collaboration between local authorities and volunteer centres. I would like to thank all those who generously give their time and efforts to volunteering. I would encourage everyone to consider the opportunity the Community Volunteer Programme offers to engage with their communities, especially now as we are all seeking to recover and reconnect.”

Those who are interested in the Community Volunteer Programme are encouraged to contact their local volunteer centre.




The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office

076-1006843 / 087-1734633



Notes to editor:

  • The Community Volunteers programme is a key action in the National Volunteering Strategy 2021 – 2025.
  • It is also a commitment in the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 Plan for Living with COVID-19.
  • The pilot project is initially running in the following counties: Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. It will roll out on a phased basis with ten more counties joining in 2022.
  • The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and coordinated by Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres, with support from their Local Authority, in each area.
  • Community Volunteers can be engaged through local Volunteer Centres to provide support for local events and initiatives and in times of more urgent, unexpected needs.


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