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The latest news from Westmeath Volunteer Centre

Launch of new care & repair home visit service in Mullingar and Kinnegad

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Launch of new care & repair home visit service in Mullingar and Kinnegad

February 28th 2014

Pictured at the launch were: L-R Back Row: Eilish Murtagh, Theresa Ryder, Anne Cowdy, Amanda Quinn, Eamonn Byrne, Mark Doyle, Paul Te Whata, Peter McGovern, Joe Corrigan, Daniel McDermot, Alice Whooley, Richard McAuliff, Elain McManus, Pat Raleigh, Ian O’Flynn (Westmeath Volunteer Centre Manager) Noel O’Neill.  Front Row Left to Right: Claire Bellis (Age Action Ireland), Danni McGovern, Michelle Raleigh (Westmeath Volunteer Centre – Volunteer Support Worker), Ann Campbell (Westmeath Community Development), Liga Daugaviete.

Westmeath Volunteer Centre, Westmeath Community Development and Age Action Ireland today launched the new Care & Repair Home Visit Service in Mullingar and Kinnegad. 
This service is a new initiative for the area, and is aimed at older people in the community. 
CR Westmeath
Speaking in Mullingar, Ian O’Flynn, Manager of Westmeath Volunteer Centre said today “I am very pleased to be launching this new service for the Mullingar and Kinnegad areas here today.  I am delighted that a wide range of local community organisations in many areas, both rural and urban, have benefited to date from the volunteers who give their time for the betterment of others”.  Claire Bellis of Age Action added, “It is an excellent example of community spirit and I wish to congratulate Westmeath Community Development on its tenacity and drive in supporting the project for Westmeath”.  Anne Campbell, Co-Ordinator of the Westmeath Care and Repair Programme added, “I greatly value the contribution made by older people to Irish society and I am particularly pleased that our older people in Westmeath will benefit from this initiative. I wish all involved every success with this venture."

The introduction of this service to Westmeath extends a tried and tested model which has been successfully established in other areas of the country.  Age Action Ireland is the managing body for implementation across Ireland, and Claire Bellis, Care & Repair Development Officer, says that “the service is currently delivered by so many local community groups throughout Ireland, and I am delighted to see the home visit service extended to residents of Westmeath.  The Care & Repair programme is an opportunity to create new services of value to older people”. 

This project is based on the Age Action Ireland model, and will ensure that older people have access to someone to call to them on a scheduled basis to spend time with them and provide a social outlet.

Care and Repair Launch 2014aIan O’Flynn added at the launch that “I welcome the introduction of the Care & Repair home visit service to older people living in our community.  The Partnership of programmes within Westmeath Community Development are delighted to work with Age Action Ireland in extending this service to Westmeath, and I encourage everyone to make the service widely known to your friends and neighbours in the community”.

The Home visit Service is a home visiting or befriending service using volunteers to provide regular social contact to older people who are at risk of isolation in their own homes.

Pictured at the launch were: L-WeR Back Row: Eilish Murtagh, Theresa Ryder, Anne Cowdy, Amanda Quinn, Eamonn Byrne, Mark Doyle, Paul Te Whata, Peter McGovern, Joe Corrigan, Daniel McDermot, Alice Whooley, Richard McAuliff, Elain McManus, Pat Raleigh, Ian O’Flynn (Westmeath Volunteer Centre Manager) Noel O’Neill.  Front Row Left to Right: Claire Bellis (Age Action Ireland), Danni McGovern, Michelle Raleigh (Westmeath Volunteer Centre – Volunteer Support Worker), Ann Campbell (Westmeath Community Development), Liga Daugaviete.

 We would like also to thank Mike Fleming and everyone at Conspect Civil Engineering and Renewable energy for their sponsorship of our wonderful Hi-Viz vests for our volunteers!  Without the support of people like these, these initiatives would not be so successful.

Conspect

 

Westmeath Volunteers Injecting Magic into The Midlands

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arts

Midlands Arts and Culture Magazine speaks to Ian O’Flynn, Manager of Westmeath Volunteer Centre about the fun and friendships formed by those who get involved in the arts world in Westmeath.  (Full Magazine viewable here)

“Managing Westmeath Volunteer Centre is a pleasure. Each and every day we meet wonderful people brimming with skills and enthusiasm and finding them a worthwhile volunteering opportunity is something we hold very dear,” enthused Ian.

“The opportunity to work with organisations who promote the arts in Westmeath was something that Westmeath Volunteer Centre jumped at.”

Perhaps given Ian’s artistic pedigree such enthusiasm is not a surprise. “I came from a theatrical background what with my mother being a playwright and my father being in the opera house in Cork and so it was more or less in my blood. 

“Growing up, volunteering was a given thing, although, back then, it wasn’t called volunteering, it was just based on the willingness to help and the passion for the arts. Lifelong friends with widely ranging backgrounds, skills and passions were made and some went on to thread the boards on big stages,” continued Ian.

Ian highlighted the opportunity of working with other branches of the arts in the volunteer centre such as Athlone Art & Heritage to advise on Volunteer Management. 

“Through this we have been able to find matches between our volunteers and opportunities within Athlone Art & Heritage such as the Artists Studio, the Luan Gallery, Hilltown Festival, Mullingar, Charleville Castle and, of course, Athlone Castle. 

“The staff in Athlone Arts & Heritage are exceptional with the volunteers and we in the Volunteer Centre would use them as a good role model when explaining best practice to other not for profit organisations who are looking for volunteers.”

Ian was also keen to stress that anyone with a passion or interest in the Arts can make for a good volunteer. “One interesting thing I have always found was that volunteers do not need to be a Picasso or Oscar winning actors to be involved in the arts. Volunteering is about passion and the Volunteer Centre’s role when dealing with the volunteers is to find the passion within and help the volunteer with options about roles.” 

“Being involved in the arts is an uplifting and inspiring experience. From helping children to discover colour, to helping an actor to learn their lines, to sharing the emotion and passion of a piece of art in a gallery, to stewarding at an event keeping everyone safe, all of these roles make a big difference and also uplifts the soul. 

“Many of the volunteers I have met through the arts had no idea when they began their volunteering journey that they would fall in love with the arts as much as they did. The arts, craic agus ceol are an integral part of our society and the more we can all help to promote it, the better our land will be.” Volunteers are essential to the Arts and without them many initiatives would fall by the wayside. As Ian pointed out: “In the Midlands there are many art galleries, artist’s collectives, theatres, drama groups, poetry and spoken word, photography societies and many, many more arts inspired associations that, without volunteers would not exist.”

If you are interested in volunteering in Westmeath, check out out current opportunities here.

 

 

Information talk on volunteering with the Big Brother Big Sister Programme 2014

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One resolution you can Keep, Volunteer and make a difference!

Foroige’s Big brother Big Sister program is seeking volunteers (over 18yrs) for 2014.

An information evening will take place at 7.30pm on the 19th February, St Mary’s hall, Northgate Street, Athlone.

Refreshments served. Everyone welcome.

Event Details

Venue: St Marys Hall, Northgate street, Athlone

Date: Wednesday 19th February

Time: 7.30pm

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Website: http://www.foroige.ie/our-work/big-brother-big-sister 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foroige 

Regional Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre Tullamore are recruiting

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Westmeath-Wide

rape crisis centreRegional Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre Tullamore are recruiting support personnel to attend the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar.

Training will be given to selected applicants

Applicants must be a minimum of 25 years old and reside in close proximity to MRHM. (Mullingar Hospital)

For more information and to apply, click here or the button below.

More-Info-Button

 

Regional Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre Tullamore are recruiting

Posted in Latest

Westmeath-Wide

rape crisis centreRegional Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre Tullamore are recruiting support personnel to attend the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar.

Training will be given to selected applicants

Applicants must be a minimum of 25 years old and reside in close proximity to MRHM. (Mullingar Hospital)

For more information and to apply, click here or the button below.

More-Info-Button

 

Summary of information in relation to the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012

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WestmeathSummary of information in relation to the National Vetting Bureau 

(Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 was enacted in December 2012, but has not commenced yet. This legislation is part of a suite of complementary legislative proposals to strengthen child protection.

gardaWhy has this legislation been introduced?

The Act will provide a legislative basis for the vetting of all persons who seek positions of employment (including volunteering) relating to children or vulnerable persons. This Act makes such vetting mandatory.

The Act will create a new National Vetting Bureau (NVB) with significant responsibilities. This will replace the current Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU)

Under the Act a database will be established, it will comprise a:

• register of relevant organisations

• register of specified information

• register of vetted persons( See Section 6, page 10 of the Act)

Key definitions

The Act also defines a large number of terms including:

• “child” means a person under the age of 18 years;

• “vulnerable person” means a person, other than a child, who:

        is suffering from a disorder of the mind, whether as a result of mental illness or dementia,

        has an intellectual disability,

        is suffering from a physical impairment, whether as a result of injury, illness or age, or

        has a physical disability, which is of such a nature or degree as to restrict the capacity of the person to guard himself or herself against harm by another person, or that results in the person requiring assistance with the activities of daily living including dressing, eating, walking, washing and bathing.

• “harm”, in relation to a person, means exploitation or abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional of the person; (See Section 2, page 2 of the Act)

• “criminal record”, in relation to a person, means—

(a) a record of the person’s convictions, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offences, together with any ancillary or consequential orders made pursuant to the convictions concerned, or

(b) a record of any prosecutions pending against the person, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offence, or both; (See Section 2, page 6 of the Act)

        “family relationship” includes a relationship between 2 persons who live in the same household and treat each other as though they were members of the same family;

• “liaison person” –currently known as authorised signatory (AS). (See Section 9, page 12 of the Act)

• “personal relationship” means a relationship between or among friends and a friend of a member of an individual’s family shall be regarded as being a friend of the individual also.

• “relevant organisation” means a person (including a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons)

Who:

·         employs (whether under contract of employment or otherwise { this includes volunteers} ) any person to undertake relevant work or activities ( including volunteering),

·         enters into a contract for services with any person for the provision by that person of services that constitute relevant work or activities (including volunteering),

·         permits any person (whether or not for commercial or any other consideration) to undertake relevant work or activities (including volunteering) on the person’s behalf,

·         is a provider of courses of education or training, including internship schemes, for persons and, as part of such education or training or scheme, places or makes arrangements for the placement of any person in work experience or activities where a necessary part of the placement involves participation in relevant work or activities, but does not include an individual who does any of the matters referred to in subparagraphs (i) to (iv) in the course of a private arrangement,

·         who carries on the business of an employment agency within the meaning of the Employment

·  

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  Agency Act 1971 for the employment of persons to undertake relevant work or activities, established by or under an enactment (other than the Companies Acts) whose functions include the regulation, registration, licensing or other authorisation (howsoever described) of persons who undertake relevant work or activities, or who represents for the purposes of the vetting procedures under this Act, another person, trade, profession or body, organisation or group or other body of persons that undertakes relevant work or activities. (See Section 2, page 7 of the Act)

• “relevant work or activities” means:

(a) relevant work or activities relating to children, or (Schedule 1, Part 1)

(b) relevant work or activities relating to vulnerable persons; (Schedule 1, Part 2)

• “scheduled organisations” are organisations which will be required to notify specified information to the Garda Vetting Bureau. (See Schedule 2)

• “specified information”, in relation to a person who is the subject of an application for vetting disclosure, means information concerning a finding or allegation of harm to another person that is received by the Bureau from the Garda Síochána pursuant to an investigation of an offence or pursuant to any other function conferred on the Garda Síochána by or under any enactment or the common law, or a scheduled organisation pursuant to subsection (1) or (2) of section 19, in respect of the person and which is of such a nature as to reasonably give rise to a bona fide concern that the person may:

·         Harm any child or vulnerable person,

·         Cause any child or vulnerable person to be harmed,

·         Put any child or vulnerable person at risk of harm,

·         Attempt to harm any child or vulnerable person, or

·         Incite another person to harm any child or vulnerable person;

The Chief Bureau Officer of the NVB must be satisfied that the disclosure of specified information is necessary, proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances in order to protect children or vulnerable persons. The vetting subject must be informed of the intention to disclose the information and informed that he or she may appeal the decision. (See Section 14 and 15, pages 17 -20 of the Act)

Who is subject to vetting?

Those involved in ‘any work or activity which is carried out by a person, a necessary and regular part of which consists mainly of the person having access to, or contact with children or vulnerable persons in (amongst others):

• Childcare Services

• Schools

• Hospitals and health services

• Residential services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons

• Provision of leisure or physical activities to children or vulnerable persons (unless this is incidental to the provision of services to a mixed group including adults)

• Promotion of religious beliefs (See Schedule I Part I, pages 29 – 32 of the Act)

If substitute persons are required from time to time for this work then they should be appointed from a panel of persons who have been vetted

Will the current form change?

The current form will be changed. The new form will require more personal information including, but not limited to passport numbers and mother’s maiden name. (See Section 13, page 17 of the Act)

A declaration of consent for person under 18 is required by Law (See Section 13. 6, page 17of the ACT)

A Personal Identification Number (PIN) may be assigned to each new vetting applicant.

All future applications of an individual will be allocated to this PIN. This will reduce turnaround times.

It is anticipated that an electronic form (e-form) will be available within 12 to 15 months of May 2013, depending on the availability of developmental resources in this regard.

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Who is exempt from vetting?

The Act does not apply to an individual who does work in the course of a private arrangement for their own benefit, or for a child or vulnerable person who is a member of the individual’s own family. An example is the case of a family member babysitting a child of their family.

The Act does not apply to any work or activity undertaken in the course of a family relationship or to persons who assist occasionally and on a voluntary basis in certain activities or events be they school, sport or community related.

This recognises the occasional but necessary involvement or assistance of parents or other persons.

However, the Act will apply where such involvement includes coaching, mentoring, counselling, teaching or training of the children or vulnerable persons.

How does my organisation decide who should be vetted?

This is a matter for each organisation to assess based on the attached Act. (Please see Schedule 1 Parts 1and 2)

What if we need to appoint a volunteer at short notice for a one off event?

The question to be considered is whether that person is required to be vetted within the provisions of the Act, or are they covered by the ‘occasional assistance ‘exemption. Occasional means ‘now and then’ or for a once off event such as a sports day. Of course other screening tools should still be used.

AS BEST PRACTICE WE RECOMMEND THAT THESE ROLES SHOULD NOT BE RELEVANT WORK OR ACTIVITIES IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

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Where does the liability rest for non-vetting?

If a person working with children or vulnerable persons is not vetted, any offence that is committed is committed by the organisation that the person works or volunteers for. Each local board/management committee will have to ensure that the relevant persons working with children or vulnerable persons are vetted. Equally, national organisations will be required to vet persons working for them who are working with children or vulnerable adults.

There is no requirement to vet persons in administration or other positions where they do not engage in "relevant work or activities relating to children /vulnerable adults”.

Do I need to register my organisation?

Volunteer Involving Organisations that are already registered with the GCVU through their national bodies or local Volunteer Centre do not have to re–register. The Act allows national organisations and consortiums, such as the Volunteer Centres, to submit vetting applications on behalf of another organisation. (See Section 8, pages 11, 12 of the Act)

What is the procedure for vetting applications?

The person to be vetted will fill out the relevant form (either manually or electronically)

Following the receipt of an application for vetting disclosure by a liaison person, the NVB will undertake an examination of its own database and Garda Síochána records to establish whether any criminal records or any specified information relates to the applicant. The NVB will release a vetting disclosure upon completion of all necessary enquiries and procedures as required. It may state that there is no criminal record or specified information relating to the applicant.

Where an employer or volunteering involving organisation (VIO) receives a vetting disclosure containing details of criminal records or specified information it must provide a copy of the disclosure to the vetting subject. It may consider and take into account the information disclosed in assessing the suitability of the person to do relevant work or activities. This should be done in a safe and confidential manner.

Who assesses the vetting subject’s suitability?

As with the current system, it is a matter for the relevant organisation, and not the NVB, or the Volunteer Centre, to consider and take into account the information disclosed in a vetting disclosure in assessing the suitability of the person for the position for which he or she has applied.

The organisation may not disclose the information otherwise than in accordance with the Act.

Noncompliance with this duty is an offence.

What about re-vetting and retrospective vetting?

The Act provides for the re-vetting of employees. However, retrospective vetting of current personnel who have not yet been vetted is being prioritised, so re-vetting will likely be introduced on a phased basis. (See Section 20 and 21, pages 23-25 of the Act)

Good practice indicates that re-vetting is conducted every 5 years on average.

It is also advisable to include a provision in the organisation’s vetting policy that provides for the re-vetting of any individual if there is a genuine cause for concern, e.g. court reports etc.

What if the vetting applicant has lived outside of Ireland?

The Garda vetting application form requires applicants to supply all address that they have been resident at from birth. Where these include addresses outside the island of Ireland, they should be provided.

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What about vetting for youth leaders under 18 years old?

It is best practice to ensure that junior leaders under 18 years of age are supported by an adult(s) and do not have overall supervision responsibility for a group of young people. The consent of a parent is required for vetting persons less than 18 years of age. This is consistent with the existing vetting procedures.

Should students be vetted?

Transition Year (TY) Students should not be placed in a position to do “relevant work” as defined by the Act,  therefore the need to vet them should not arise.

University/College Students: Garda Vetting is conducted by the University / College in order to facilitate work placements. This is the mother-ship principle. It is good practice to develop service level agreements with the colleges/universities.

Foreign Students: As above

What happens in the case of community service?

The individual is assessed by the Probation service before they are “introduced” to the group/organisation for community service. The organisation can still Garda Vet the individual should they wish.

It should be noted that, in some instances, the judge may not convict but suggest or recommend community service.

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Ian on 044-9348571 or email ian@volunteerwestmeath.ie

Culture Night Launch

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1186919 606999579339653 703770094 n1You are cordially invited to the launch of Culture Night on Thursday September 5th at 6.30pm in the Atrium in the County Buildings Mullingar.
Much loved actress Mary McEvoy will officially launch the programme of events for Westmeath on the night. With over 45 events happening in the county for Culture Night this will also be a celebration of all the cultural ambassadors and organisers who make Culture Night such a success every year.

Mullingar Camera Club will also launch their annual Exhibition in the Atrium on the night.

Mullingar Harp School will provide musical harmony for the occasion as well.

We look forward to seeing you on the night!  More info here

10892 610479808991630 1447055986 n1

MOBILE APPS FOR VOLUNTEERING

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Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 15.53.58Did you know that we have developed smart phone and tablet apps that you can download for volunteering now.  

The apps are for iphone, ipad and android and are available on the itunes and the google play store.

Our thanks to our fantastic volunteer, Simon Browne, from IT Tallaght who developed these apps for us as part of his college course.  

What an amazing example of how volunteering works!

You can download the apps on line - Just look up I-VOL or follow these links

I-Tunes Android

 

   ivol itunes   

 

 

   ivol android