Volunteers’ Week took place from 1 to 7 June. It was an annual celebration of volunteering, and time to say thank you to everyone who gives their time freely to benefit others. Organisations across Belfast benefit from the involvement of volunteers, including our Tourism, Culture and Arts funding client the MAC. Their volunteers, known as MACtivists, ensure visitors to the arts centre have a first-rate experience. MACtivists are involved in everything from navigation across the galleries to front of house assistance and support for creative workshops.
Find out more in this short film.
The Department for Social Development's Volunteering Strategy defines volunteering as “the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of society and the community, the environment, or individuals outside (or in addition to) one's immediate family. It is unpaid and undertaken freely and by choice”.
As part of the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week (1 - 7 June 2014), we spoke to five of the local heroes who help us deliver services in communities across Belfast.
We’re very grateful to the hundreds of unsung heroes who give up their time to make a positive difference to communities in Belfast. Find out more about their experiences in our short video:
With so many demands on our time, why should we think about volunteering?
There are many reasons and benefits, including:
- wanting to improve things or help other people
- supporting a cause that’s really important to you
- meeting new people and having new experiences
- connecting with the community you live in
- building your knowledge, skills and experience if you're looking for a job
- wanting to make a difference to the world around you.
We support volunteering through:
- grant programmes which support the work of community, arts and sporting groups who involve volunteers
- award schemes such as the PCSP Youth Awards, Belfast Sports Awards and the Older Volunteer of the Year Award
- volunteer involvement in flagship events such as the World Police and Fire Games 2013.
Community Services volunteering opportunities
We run a range of groups in our centres throughout the year. These include after-school and homework clubs, youth groups, parent and toddler and senior citizens groups. All of these benefit from the involvement of volunteers.
We provide an innovative programme of play activities across the city, and we’re very grateful to our volunteers who help us to do this. As well as benefiting local communities, being a volunteer also benefits you as an individual.
- an opportunity to make a difference to children’s lives
- a chance to get experience in a field you’d like to work in
- a way to test out potential career choices
- an opportunity to develop new skills, or use your existing skills to benefit others
- a way to feel connected to, and involved in, your community
- a chance to meet new people and make new friends.
To find out more about the volunteer opportunities we offer in our Play Service, call Blanche Thompson, Play Development Officer on 028 9027 0470 or 07876 477373 or firstname.lastname@example.org
During July and August our community and play centres run summer schemes for the four to 14 age group, offering a range of centre-based activities, trips and events.
Our Summer schemes are run by our Community Services staff with valued support from local volunteers. They offer a variety of trips, in-centre activities and events over four weeks and cater for children and young people aged four to 14.
We’ll keep you up to date with volunteering opportunities for men and for women as they arise, and give you all the support and training you need.
Belfast Youth Forum
This is made up of 40 young people aged 13 to 18 years old who represent the nine electoral wards in Belfast. The forum provides a way for us to engage with young people and hear their views. It also offers young people a place to raise the issues that are important to them. Youth Forum volunteers assist and support Youth Forum members to perform their duties and participate in the programme of work.
If you're interested in volunteering with Community Services then call us on 028 9032 0202 ext 3775 or email us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Volunteering in Northern Ireland
If you’d like to find out about opportunities elsewhere in Belfast and Northern Ireland, see the Volunteer Now website
and search their database.