Enterprising move for Volunteer Now

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Image: Volunteer Now’s chief executive Wendy Osborne, left, with Elaine Sheridan from MindWise

By Una Murphy

Earlier this year VIEW reported on the blow to Volunteer Now – which supplied volunteers for last year’s World Police and Fire Games – from a massive government funding cut

Following a round of redundancies the charity has marked the formation of a new enterprise to bring more funds into the organisation.

Chief Executive Wendy Osborne warned that the severe 50 percent cut in core funding from the Department of Social Development had had a huge impact on the charity. “Cut too deeply and lose completely”, she said.

“We are still feeling the sharp edge – that size of a cut made us more vulnerable.”

She added: “Some things we did before we are not able to offer, some services were free in the past but not now.”

The charity has now set up a social enterprise – Volunteer Now Enterprise – which offers training for volunteers across the island of Ireland as well as in Britain. Ms Osborne praised volunteers such as Alan Henning the English taxi driver who was killed after volunteering to bring relief supplies to families in Syria. She said people like Mr Henning and others such as those working to battle the Ebola outbreak in Africa were “putting themselves out on the line because they are putting themselves out for other people.”

“It speaks to me about the power of volunteering wherever we are”, she said.

Volunteer Now Enterprises manages the Investing in Volunteers standard in N. Ireland and has also delivered volunteer management training in partnership with Volunteer Ireland in the Republic.

Charities who have achieved Investors in Volunteers awards include Mindwise and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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