Click the image above or HERE to watch the first video in our new series.
This May is different.
Traditionally May is a hectic month from Tipperary Volunteer Centre. For years it housed National Volunteering Week and the team travelled the length and breadth of the county engaging with and celebrating volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. Recently the tough decision was taken by Volunteer Ireland in consultation with the national network of volunteer centres to defer National Volunteering Week 2020 to later date in the year.
The logic behind that decision was twofold. Firstly, the network of volunteer centres are working extremely hard supporting organisations who are dealing with the most vulnerable in our communities at this time. Secondly, we wanted to ensure that we have the time and resources to deliver a National Volunteering Week that is fitting of the efforts of volunteers, organisations and the impacts they are having in every parish in the country.
May was also the month we planned our annual June volunteer fair. Looking back with our social distancing eyes on some footage from previous years it is blatantly obvious to see not only how things have changed but also the important role that networking and human interaction has in our society.
So, reflecting on COVID-19 its fair to say that no one has been left unaffected by it. Business and service closure have been an integral part of flattening the curve along with the anxious wait on the daily figures from Dr. Tony Holohan to see how well we are doing. I’m no medical expert but the data is showing that our efforts and sacrifices are having real effect. A point reinforced on the 1st May with the Government publishing a phased roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society.
What does our groups phased roadmap look like?
With that in mind as those involved in the operation and oversight of community and voluntary groups, we need to be asking ourselves a question right now. That question is “What does our groups phased roadmap look like”.
Phased being the operative word. There was a hard stop for many of us with the onset of the pandemic and we are all acutely aware that there will not be a flick a switch return to normal solution to it.
We also know that roadmaps will be diverse as the impact of COVID-19 on the Community and Voluntary sector has been polar-opposite. Some groups have had to cease operation while others are seeing their services stretched.
The community and voluntary sector however has not been closed it has been more active and impactful than ever before. But now is the time for us to start planning on how we are going to reduce the transition phase from our old way or doing things to what will no doubt become our new norm. It’s important to reiterate that our community needs you and the services your organisation provides, this is especially true for those groups who have had to ramp down or cease operations due to the virus.
Prior to the virus your group was needed, on the 10th August or before it your group will still be needed. None of us envisaged this emergency or its progression path but we need to proactively assess and plan for a return to support those who need our services.
Here to Help.
I’ve no doubt that the thought of even starting this process will be daunting for some groups but rest assured you are not on your own. Tipperary Volunteer Centre as the organisation funded in Tipperary to strengthen and support volunteering through the Department of Rural and Community Development is here to assist you any way we can.
Over the coming weeks through a series of videos and checklists we will guide you through the process. From looking at the human effect new operating procedures will have on your volunteer base, through to risk mitigation and management our aim is to provide you with practical advice that you can then tailor to suit your own organisation’s needs.
We will be discussing the current volunteer base, the impact of social distancing on how we operate, our physical locations and adaptations that may need to be made, return to work protocols, potential new funding streams and more. All in videos of 5 minutes or less.
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Things may be wholesale different when compared to this time last year, but we will get through it. Every crisis presents opportunities and with guidance and proper planning we can do our best to ensure that those opportunities fall to our own organisations.
It is only natural that we are all a little anxious. But there are things we can control. By taking small steps, trusting in our ability and with a bit of luck our organisations will come out the other end stronger and more embedded in our communities than ever before.
Our Video Series
Our video series will commence next week when we look at the potential impact the emergency has had on volunteering and the challenges that presents for organisation who involve them.
If there is a particular topic that you would like us to cover in this series just email the topic to [email protected] and we will strive to have it included in future videos.
Take care, stay safe and please adhere to the latest guidelines from the HSE and other statutory bodies. If you or your organisation need support with anything volunteer-related, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Tipperary Volunteer Centre. Our doors may be physically closed but our service is 100% open.