2017 has been another exceptionally busy and engaging year for Sligo Volunteer Centre. The number of people prepared to give their time and talents freely and willingly as volunteers in the community continue to grow. It is estimated that in Sligo alone up to 7000 hours of volunteering with an economic value of €64000 are provided each week by the people of the town and County.
Following a hugely successful year with Sligo as European Capital of Volunteering these numbers have vastly increased. I wish to pay particular tribute at this time to Ciara Herity SVC Manager and the extremely dedicated staff and board of management who have made the year such a great success.
Support for this volunteering infrastructure falls in the main on the Manager and Staff of the volunteer centre. They work tirelessly in supporting volunteers, in matching volunteers to community needs, in providing Garda Vetting Service for groups and many other services connected with the volunteer centre. On behalf of the Board I want to record our gratitude and deep appreciation for the staff of the centre in carrying out these tasks with efficiency and generosity. The workload of the Centre was added to immensely this year by preparations for 2017 when Sligo was honoured with the award of European Capital of Volunteering 2017. This is a singular honour for the town following on from previous cities of Barcelona, Lisbon, and London. In preparation for this event the Volunteer Centre has worked closely on a committee with Sligo County Council throughout the year in order to put a plan in place
to mark the great honour which the town has been given.
The Council mobilised €30,000 of their funds to support civic events for the year, and an Official Corporate Partner-Abbott Ireland- was secured. The Department of Rural & Community Development also offered financial support and the Western Development Commission. The gratitude of the Board is due to the generous supporters and shows the esteem that the European Capital of Volunteering is held within the County. 2017 was a very successful year culminating in the 10th birthday celebrations that were a huge success.
On October 12th 2016, a seminar on volunteering strategies was held in the EU Parliament Building in Brussels. The Volunteer Centre was represented there, as were a number of other voluntary organisations from the County and it proved an ideal event to launch Sligo as European Volunteering Capital 2017. For this event, special thanks is due to MEP Marian Harkin whose efforts got the Parliament to focus on volunteering in 2011 when the members declared that year European Year of Volunteering.
The successes throughout the year are numerous and commendable and this year has certainly put Sligo and all Volunteers on a national platform that wouldn’t have been achieved without the dedication of a very committed team. There are so many other areas of work that engage the staff of the Centre throughout 2017 but I will leave that to the Managers Report.
In conclusion I must thank the Board members and staff for the courtesy and cooperation they gave me throughout the year.
Sincere thanks to everyone, Marie Casserly, Chair of Board of Directors.