Athlone Art and Heritage continues its partnership with Westmeath Volunteer Centre
This week, May 14th – 20th sees Ireland’s first annual National Volunteering Week take place. National Volunteering Week is the one week of the year when people are encouraged to give volunteering a try, so that everyone can learn that even if it’s only for a minute, an hour, or a day how much of a difference volunteering can make. Athlone Art and Heritage have been working with Westmeath Volunteer Centre since the Studios in Abbey Road opened their doors in 2011, and the organisation continues to grow this partnership with for example a volunteer led Active Age Group in the Studios this Thursday.
Carmel Rooney has been actively involved with Westmeath Volunteer Centre, and in particular with the activities of Athlone Art and Heritage. Currently Carmel runs and facilitates Abbey Road Active Age Group every Thursday morning. Abbey Road Active Age has 30 members in its group and they enjoy activities like arts and crafts, bridge, computer lessons and watching movies. Rooney says “I love the opportunities volunteering gives me, and my interest is very much in the arts, so this is a really good fit for me, for the company and for the Volunteer organisation”.
Miriam Mulrennan who manages Athlone Art and Heritage says “volunteering has changed so much in recent years. In the past it was seen through a certain lens, it was seen as something you did as an altruistic perhaps almost one-way activity, as being purely about giving. Nowadays the experience is much more rounded, and it seems to me that people come to volunteering for a much greater variety of reasons, from seeking experience, to returning to the workforce as well as personal development and awareness. This is great for organisations like ourselves, as we get to partner with and get valuable support from really high calibre individuals.”
Athlone Art and Heritage have worked with volunteers on a number of projects including; Abbey Road studios launch, invigilating the ‘In House’ Architectural exhibition and most recently the AIT ‘In Orbit’ exhibition. Earlier this month Athlone Art and Heritage organised that 6 volunteers participate on a Failte Ireland GEM (Go the Extra Mile) Training programme. The Programme also incorporated a ‘walk ‘n talk’ tour and information session around Athlone by Executive Librarian Gearoid O’Brien. Athlone Art and Heritage Coordinator Catherine Yorke who manages this programme says “we are looking at how other galleries and organisations run their volunteer programmes, as there are some really interesting and innovative things happening in this space. Many students and recent graduates from my own peer group are interested in volunteering, and it is great that there are opportunities like the ones in Athlone Art and Heritage to create these links.”
Yorke further explains “there will be a rolling approach to volunteering within Athlone Art and Heritage, so anyone can contact us to have a chat about these opportunities. It is really positive that the Westmeath Volunteer Centre is partnering with us on our projects and a big thank you goes to the volunteers who are giving their ideas, time, skills and experience.”
For more information on the volunteering please visit: http://www.athloneartandheritage.ie/opportunities/
or contact Athlone Art and Heritage at firstname.lastname@example.org