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first_imgThe Donegal Volunteer Centre and Cheshire Ireland have devised a new volunteer support scheme which has been launched in Donegal.Both organisations are hoping to monitor and review the progress of the scheme with the view to eventually rolling it out on as wide a scale as possible. Cheshire Ireland has been providing services to adults, primarily with neurological conditions and physical disabilities for more than 50 years. Cheshire Ireland operates a range of services in 13 counties.These include residential centres, respite services, and supports to people living in their own homes.The Donegal Volunteer Centre is based in Letterkenny and services volunteers and voluntary groups through the promotion of voluntarism and the provision of volunteer-focused training throughout the county.The two organisations have been working for some time now with the aim of providing structured support services for the clients of Cheshire Ireland and in particular its Cheshire Homes location in Letterkenny. Following months of careful joint planning, Donegal has been chosen for piloting the national Befriending and Gift-a-lift Volunteer Schemes. The national volunteer manager of Cheshire Ireland, Evelyn Pender, has been working with Caroline Jahn and John Curran of the Donegal Volunteer Centre on devising the details of the schemes.When the required services were defined, staff of the Donegal Volunteer Centre sourced suitable candidate volunteers and devised a volunteer programme to deliver a Gift-a-lift service as well as the Befriending and Recreation/ Personal Opportunities Programme (POPS). The manager of Cheshire Apartments in Donegal, Jean McKenzie, will work with Volunteer Co-ordinators who will manage the scheme with support from Donegal Volunteer Centre.Under the scheme, up to 20 volunteers will drive the Cheshire mini-bus during evenings and weekends to enable people with disabilities to enjoy socialising with friends, visiting the cinema or attending night classes.The initiative will support people to develop additional valued roles, connect with other people and become active citizens within their local community. Additionally, some volunteers will help enhance people’s computing skills, especially in the area of social media with the aim of assisting persons to have greater social contact with friends and persons in their communities.Joe McHugh TD said “I am delighted to be here today to celebrate such a creative volunteering initiative. It will be of benefit to both the volunteer and the service user.“Having worked in the Glenboe area (including Cheshire apartments) back in ’96/97 I can testify to the enriching experience of the work which will be involved in this project. I wish this initiative well and I commend all involved in such an exciting partnership effort.” In confirming his delight with the number of volunteers who have come forward from the local community, Mark Blake-Knox, CEO of Cheshire Ireland, stated “this partnership between volunteers and people who live at Donegal Cheshire Apartments is very positive.Transport and accessibility to places and communities can be a real problem for people with disabilities. This initiative supports people to get out and about and take up new valued roles within society. It is also likely to result in lasting friendships for everyone involved.”Donegal Volunteer Centre staff and their parent company, DLDC, are proud that their hard work has been instrumental in this innovative new project being piloted in Donegal. It is hoped that this will be the first of future successful projects to follow this model throughout the country.The official launch of the scheme was carried out by Deputy Joe McHugh, T.D. on Monday 20th May 2013 at Cheshire Apartments, Long Lane, Letterkenny and was attended by Mark Blake-Knox, CEO of Cheshire Ireland, Evelyn Pender, Cheshire Ireland Volunteer Manager, Jean McKenzie, Cheshire Letterkenny Manager, John Starrett DLDC Vice Chairman, Caoimhin MacAoidh, CEO of DLDC, Caroline Jahn and John Curran, Donegal Volunteer Centre. DONEGAL LEADS THE WAY AS PILOT VOLUNTEER SCHEME LAUNCHED was last modified: May 21st, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal Volunteer Servicelast_img read more