Volunteers Sniff Out Opportunities with Launch of New Online Search Portal

Minister for Communities Supports Campaign to Boost Volunteering across NI 

Volunteer Now, the lead organisation for promoting and supporting volunteering across Northern Ireland, is urging people in Belfast to get into volunteering and find their perfect match through its brand new online search portal.

Supported by Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, the online platform is based on new technology and is the first of its kind to be adopted in Northern Ireland, making it easier than ever to find volunteering opportunities.

Boasting hundreds of unique volunteering opportunities across a range of sectors, volunteers can ‘find their fit’. From treading the boards at a local theatre, to caring for guide dog puppies, to helping some of the most vulnerable members of society, the Volunteer Now platform searches and finds locally based volunteering opportunities matched specifically to the volunteer’s skills and interests.

Celebrating the launch of the new online volunteering search portal, Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, said:

“I am delighted that my Department have been able to support the introduction of a new way to promote and access volunteering opportunities. The new search system will help encourage the next generation of volunteers and help existing volunteers alike to find opportunities which are right for them and to record the skills and experience they gain, and have that contribution verified by host organisations.

Volunteering, whether it be occasionally helping out a local group or church, volunteering with an organisation over the course of a lifetime, or serving as a member of management committee, is vital to the fabric of our community. The passion and commitment shown by our volunteers is inspiring and deserves to be supported with the very latest technology. I am confident that volunteering will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Guide Dogs Northern Ireland is just one of many organisations that have partnered with Volunteer Now to promote their live volunteering opportunities via the platform.

Guide Dogs Northern Ireland volunteer, Catherine Craig, said:

“I have been a volunteer for Guide Dogs Northern Ireland for the last seven years. In my role as ‘puppy walker’ I welcome pups at around eight weeks old and over a period of up to 16 months I help train and socialise the dogs to prepare them for their first stage of guide dog training. The role is incredibly humbling but rewarding, and I am extremely proud to be a Guide Dogs NI volunteer. I’ve helped train six dogs in my time with the charity and I’m currently looking after the beautiful Amelia, a six month old black Labrador.

Whilst its always difficult to say goodbye to the pups when they’re ready to start training, it’s fantastic to know that I’m playing a part in helping to enhance the quality of life for a visually impaired person. With over 51,000 registered blind or partially sighted people in Northern Ireland, there is a lot of work to do and many guide dogs are needed to enable these people to live full and independent lifestyles.

Guide Dogs Northern Ireland is delighted to partner with Volunteer Now to profile the volunteering opportunities we have available. The online search portal is marvelous for attracting new volunteers and we are always on the hunt for new volunteers to assist – whether it’s homing and training pups, supporting fundraising initiatives or partnering with a person with sight loss to help them get out and about for a few hours a week. There’s so much to choose from and we would be delighted to welcome new volunteers who want to give something back to their local community.”

Commenting on the success of the new platform Denise Hayward, Chief Executive of Volunteer Now, said:

“As Northern Ireland’s regional volunteering organisation, we are continually looking for innovative ways to provide volunteers with the support they need to find relevant opportunities.  We are delighted to be working with the Volunteer Centres as we introduce this new and exciting development.”

For more information on live volunteering opportunities visit www.volunteernow.co.uk.

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