CIS Volunteers Honoured at Annual Award Ceremony

January 2014

Volunteers who have given over 20 years of service to their community with the Citizens Information Service were honoured at a special ceremony in Dublin, last month. The generous contribution of 18 volunteers from eight CISs in Kilkenny, Kerry, Fingal (Nth County), Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown, Wexford, Tipperary, Offaly and North and East Cork County was recognised. Each volunteer received a certificate and a commemorative bowl at the event which was hosted by the Citizens Information Board (CIB) and the National Association of Citizens Information Services.

Speaking at the event Yvonne McKenna, CEO of Volunteer Ireland said: "For the third year running, Ireland has been ranked the most generous country in Europe in the World Giving Index. This research highlights the generosity of spirit that continues to thrive in Ireland throughout difficult times and this is evident in the remarkable contribution of the volunteers we honour here today. Connecting with people is something that is inherent to our culture in Ireland and it is particularly important that we celebrate the contribution of Volunteers in the Citizens Information Service in this the European Year of Citizens."

Ms. McKenna added: "I understand that volunteers in the CIS network provide a service equivalent to 113 whole-time posts, which is a remarkable contribution. Last year over 15,400 volunteers registered through volunteer.ie and local Volunteer Centres, a record figure and a 100% increase on pre-recession levels . These volunteers clocked up an incredible 465,000 voluntary hours last year at a purely economic value of over €10.2 million to the Irish economy."

Also speaking at the event, Sylda Langford, Chair, CIB said: "Volunteers are a critical resource to the CISs and bring a diversity and wealth of experience which is as important now as it was 20 years ago when the volunteers who are with us today started giving of their time. While most volunteers are Information Providers others fill a variety of roles such as receptionist, administrator or interpreter. All contribute to the delivery of a much needed service to the local community."

She added that: "It was this time last year the research report 'Volunteering in the Citizens Information Services- The role and contribution of volunteers' presented their work on the Volunteer Strategy to the CIB Board. This national strategy is now being implemented by services around the country. It strengthens the role of volunteers and ensures that they are supported through training and other measures to deliver consistent and high standards in a demanding and complex work environment."

Tony McQuinn, Chief Executive, Philip McCabe, Chair NACIS and Eamonn Burgess, Chair Co Wicklow CIS, all spoke about the importance of the role of volunteers and their pivotal task through the years in ensuring that their local communities, especially the vulnerable and socially excluded have access to information on entitlements and services and the assistance needed in securing them.

Pictured at the award ceremony are Philip McCabe, Chair, NACIS and Yvonne McKenna, CEO Volunteer Ireland

Pictured at the award ceremony are Philip McCabe, Chair, NACIS and Yvonne McKenna, CEO Volunteer Ireland

Pictured front from left: Jacqui Brown volunteer, Kerry CIS, Sylda Langford, Chairperson, Etta Dukes, Kerry CIS the longest serving volunteer of the award recipients, Geraldine Cullen, Manager (back from left): Yvonne Mc Kenna, CEO Volunteer Ireland, Eileen Fitzgerald Senior Manager, Tony McQuinn CEO, Eamonn Burgess, Chair, Wicklow CIS, Philip Mc Cabe, Chair, NACIS and Frances Clifford, Development Manager Kerry CIS

Pictured front from left: Jacqui Brown volunteer, Kerry CIS, Sylda Langford, Chairperson, Etta Dukes, Kerry CIS the longest serving volunteer of the award recipients, Geraldine Cullen, Manager (back from left): Yvonne Mc Kenna, CEO Volunteer Ireland, Eileen Fitzgerald Senior Manager, Tony McQuinn CEO, Eamonn Burgess, Chair, Wicklow CIS, Philip Mc Cabe, Chair, NACIS and Frances Clifford, Development Manager Kerry CIS