Monday May 9th marked a milestone event for Waterford Volunteer Centre as Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with Special Responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien, officially opened the centre in Waterford city.

Catherine Power, Treasurer; Sharon Higgins, Manager; Minister Joe O’Brien TD; Mayor of Waterford City & County Cllr. Joe Kelly; Caitríona Ní Mhaidín, Waterford Volunteer Centre; and Paul Deegan, Volunteer Centre, Waterford. Photos: John Power

Minister O’Brien was instrumental in getting the volunteer centre established in Waterford and for the publication of The National Volunteering Strategy.

Waterford Volunteer Centre has been operational since 18 January 2021, after many years of hard work to bring a full-time volunteer service to Waterford. The dedication of the voluntary Board of Directors is evident by the impact the centre has already had since its inception. Speaking at the official opening Catherine Power, Chairperson of Waterford Volunteer Centre, praised the Board for all their hard work, especially in setting up the organisation during the Covid-19 pandemic which was challenging as most meetings needed to be held online. She also thanked the Department of Rural and Community Development and Volunteer Ireland for their continued support in the development of Waterford Volunteer Centre.

The Board and staff of the volunteer centre were joined on the day by Mayor of Waterford, Joe Kelly, who spoke about the importance of volunteers to our communities and how the centre would be instrumental in providing support to volunteerism.

TDs and local Councillors were also there in support of the service as were volunteers and organisations who are the essence of the volunteer centre. Despite a packed itinerary Minister O’Brien took time to chat with attendees present and was impressed by the voluntary efforts of the people of Waterford.

Cllr. Jody Power; Minister Joe O’Brien TD; Sharon Higgins, Manager, Waterford Volunteer Centre; Marc Ó Cathasaigh TD; and Caitríona Ní Mhaidín, Waterford Volunteer Centre.

Derek Fanning, Manager, Tipperary Volunteer Centre; Deirdre Power, Secretary WVC; Catherine Power, Treasurer; Minister Joe O’Brien TD; Karen McGrath, Director; John Hawkes, Director; May Dole, Director; Pat Power, Treasurer; and Nina Arwitz, CEO Volunteer Ireland.

Since opening, the volunteer centre has supported many volunteers and volunteer involving organisations across Waterford and they are now looking forward to celebrating National Volunteer Week with a range of events for volunteers and volunteer involving organisations.

Sharon Higgins, Centre Manager commented, “It’s been a tough 16 months for us all and it’s great to see volunteers across the country get back to doing what they love. From sports clubs to community clean ups, this week is dedicated to all those people who take the time to give back and make our communities a better place. So many people had to put their volunteering on hold during the pandemic and as the country continues to reopen, we want to celebrate volunteers for all that they do.”