For many of those who attended the Volunteer Thank You Party on Thursday evening in Treacys West County, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016 was their first introduction to the Clare Volunteer Centre. Set up in 2008, the Clare Volunteer Centre provides a one stop shop for people wishing to volunteer with over 3000 people registered with the centre. As well as providing a free support and referral service for prospective volunteers, the centre also works with over 240 local community and voluntary organisations. Part of a national network of volunteer centre, the Clare Volunteer Centre is recognised as leading on innovative projects, which included the Volunteer Recognition Card, Knitting the Community Together and Welcoming Claires to County Clare. Central to all the projects is the Clare Volunteer Centres commitment to ensuring that volunteers are at the heart of each volunteer programme. The Volunteer Thank You Party was organised by the Clare Volunteer Centre team to recognise and acknowledge the huge contribution of the volunteers to the success of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016. The volunteers were treated to entertainment provided by James Sexton, a limited edition Volunteer Recognition Card offering discounts in a range of local businesses and an opportunity to meet up again with new friends that were made over the 8 days of the Fleadh. A team of photographers led by Helen McQuillan documented the volunteer’s story over the week which was also shown during the night. All images will be posted on the new Clare Volunteer Centre website, when it is launched in September.
Sharon Meaney “For the visitors to Ennis, the Fleadh experience was dependant upon volunteers rising to the challenge, leading in their roles and providing a warm welcome regardless of the weather – we heard countless stories of volunteers going the extra mile to ensure that the visitors had a positive experience during the Fleadh. We were especially proud of the fact that regardless of age or ability, we encouraged all to volunteer and our volunteer programme thrived because of that engagement”