On Monday last, the 10th July, Irish Rural Link (IRL), the national network representing the interest of rural communities hosted a seminar on youth volunteerism in the Sccul Enterprise Centre, Ballybane, Galway.
The seminar, entitled ‘Youth and Student Volunteerism for Charities and Social Enterprises’ is part of the Beyond NEET project, a one-year project funded through the Erasmus+ programme, which IRL are partner with Uniao das Mutualidades Portugauesas (UMP).
The project works with young people who are Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET) to support them to engage with volunteering in their community. The project aims to open opportunities for young people to be able to be professionally integrated, initially in volunteer programs and, later, in civil society organisations that associate with this initiative.
The seminar showcased the work undertaken by IRL as part of the project and the results of a survey and workshops with young people over the past year. The seminar also heard from speakers from the Galway Volunteer Centre, Foróige, Boardmatch Ireland and the Be Alive Volunteering Programme in University of Galway.
IRL’s partner’s on the project UMP Portugal also attended the event with President of UMP, Luís Alberto Silva, outlining the impact of the project in Portugal and what differences and similarities they encountered in their work. The Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Eddie Hoare spoke about the importance of volunteering and how it can be a way young people can participate in their community and discover their passions.
The seminar was a unique opportunity for the education, youth, community, charity and social enterprise sectors to come together to exchange views, share experiences and explore the potential for more collaboration through student volunteerism. Younger and student volunteers play a very important role in charities social enterprises and other community organisations. This is a great chance to explore the potential role of student volunteerism for your organisation.
We would like to thank everyone who attended on the day, the Mayor of Galway City, Eddie Hoare, our project partner UMP, all the speakers and Sccul Enterprise Centre for providing the venue for the event. A very special thank you to all the students, their teachers, coordinators and managers of Youth Reach Galway and Galway Community Training Centre who participated in the project survey and workshops and who also attended the seminar as well as baking all the lovely treats for the tea break and lunch.
Some of the students also spoke with Galway Bay FM on the day and you can listen back to the interviews here
A manual is currently being developed as part of the project to support those working in the sector and will be published in September. You can stay up to date on the project on https://beyondneet.mutualismo.pt/