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Rural Conversation Report Launch

Having attended Rural Conversation # 3 in Waterford Institute of Technology on the 4th April we were invited to the launch of the Rural Conversations report at the Royal Irish Academy. The full report can be downloaded HERE.

Main Findings from a Volunteer and Volunteer Involving Organisation Perspective.

Current and future rural community leaders need to the supported.

  • Careful consideration of a sustainable rural leader and volunteer model with targeted support is warranted. Community leader and volunteer development programmes are also of value.

The evolving volunteer infrastructure must be recognised.

  • Rural volunteerism is challenged by a growing social and regulatory burden and escalating insurance costs.

Rural policy evolution

  • Insurance support system for rural community leaders, volunteers, social spaces, transport providers and social enterprise.
  • Aligning national strategy with short-, medium- and long-term goals (by county, region) of rural community strategies, and to address inter-country, inter-region competitive behaviour and overcome potential for a silo approach

Proposing a community-led approach

  • Build a repository of qualitative ‘vibrant and sustainable rural community’ success stories.
  • Reduce the amount of governance and scheme administration
  • Offer rural-specific guidance on regulation.
  • Enhance volunteer support infrastructures to include targeted schemes for rural youth, commuters, retired people, distinct communities and new citizens.
  • Intergenerational community contributions (e.g. potential for volunteer infrastructure to be expanded to include youth/elderly/new citizens)

Rural community leader capability development

  • Build a repository of qualitative ‘vibrant and sustainable rural community’ success stories.
  • Offer rural-specific guidance on regulation.
  • Enhance volunteer support infrastructures to include targeted schemes for rural youth, commuters, retired people, distinct communities and new citizens.
  • Recommend a national strategy for a community leader and volunteer support infrastructure, including mentor links with other community leaders and youth
  • Active volunteer bedrock in rural communities is underpinned by an assumption that volunteers will continue to be active; this is not a sustainable model without targeted support
  • Support of the LEADER programme

We brought your concerns to the table.

Dr. Felicity Kelliher report rapporteur with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic
Dr. Felicity Kelliher report rapporteur with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic
Dr. Felicity Kelliher report rapporteur with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic
Prof Aine Hyland chair of RIA Social Sciences Committee with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic
Dr. Senan Coole with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic
Dr. Senan Coole with Munster Volunteer Centres Call for Input Infographic

Volunteer Culture

Positive Factors

  • Baseline as a lever for cohesion
  • Role in creating and running social networks, event
  • Aging reservoir of experience of value to business, tourism, community

Negative Factors

  • Pressure on a small number of core volunteer
  • Insider perspective as a barrier to new citizen integration
  • Assumption that the young are recipients of rather than potential contributors to volunteer activities
  • Value of new citizens as potential volunteers not fully realised
  • Aging reservoir perceived as a cost rather than a resource

Expand the volunteer infrastructure

  • Promote and recognise volunteers’ role in and value to the rural community
  • Enhance the development of volunteers among the various community cohorts (youth, elderly, LGBT, new citizen, migrant and Traveller communities)
  • Reposition elderly and youth as key contributors in the volunteer space
  • Extend the Men’s Sheds and Community Gardens initiatives
  • Use potential avenues for employment opportunities (e.g. Tús initiative)

Investing in People

  • National strategy for volunteer support in rural communities
  • Education supports for community leader and volunteer development

Challenges

  • The vibrancy and sustainability of the volunteer network are challenged by social and regulatory burdens (e.g. health and safety requirements, GDPR).
  • Increasing insurance costs are placing undue pressure on small rural businesses and volunteer groups.

Conclusion

What we heard you say during the call for input into the National Volunteering Strategy was reflected in this report. You can view our infographic HERE

A Big Thank You to the Royal Irish Academy for allowing Tipperary Volunteer Centre input into the process.
Click the photo to hear the Ministers address at the event.

Minister Michael Ring with Centre Manager Derek Fanning
Minister Michael Ring with Centre Manager Derek Fanning

Audio taken from the Royal Irish Academy website - ria.ie