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Existence of a National Strategy
There is currently no national strategy for youth volunteering in Ireland. However, there is a National Volunteering Strategy 2021-25 which targets the general population. It is Ireland’s first volunteering strategy. The Department of Rural and Community Development published the Strategy in December 2020 and it covers 2021-25.
Other key policy documents in the area of volunteering are:
- 2000: Government White Paper - Supporting Voluntary Activity
- 2002: Tipping the Balance
- 2005: Joint Oireachtas Report on 'Volunteers and Volunteering in Ireland' 2006: Towards 2016
- 2007: Active Citizenship Report
- 2009: Policy to Support Volunteer Centres
- 2016: Our Communities: National Framework Policy for Local and Community Development
- 2019: Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities: A Five-Year Strategy to Support the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland 2019-2024.
Scope and contents
The purpose of National Volunteering Strategy is to recognise, support and promote the unique value and contribution of volunteers to Irish society. The Strategy also provides an opportunity for Government to acknowledge how important volunteering is to Ireland’s well-being and to steer the delivery of an agreed and ambitious vision.
The Strategy provide a vision and road map for both volunteers and for organisations who benefit from the work of volunteers. It contains 56 actions to be implemented.
The Strategy recognises that volunteering contributes to making Ireland a more inclusive place. It aims for volunteering to be “representative of our diverse communities which make up Irish society. One of the Strategy’s objectives is
“to improve awareness of and increase participation in volunteering activities, particularly among those sections of our society that are currently under-represented. It also seeks to reflect diversity in volunteering and to integrate existing initiatives as well as adopting new and innovative ones.”
It sets out 13 actions under this objective, including the long-term action to ‘Develop programmes aimed at increasing the numbers of volunteers from under-represented groups’.
Young people, aged 12-25 years, are specifically addressed within the policy and it identifies a range of opportunities and supports in place across second and third level education. No specific groups within the youth population are targeted.
The Department of Rural and Community Development is the responsible authority for the National Volunteering Strategy. The Strategy states that the Department will ‘In partnership with stakeholders, deliver, implement and ongoing review of the Strategy’.
An Implementation Group will be established to oversee, monitor and measure progress in implementing the Strategy. The Implementation Group will be chaired by the Department and include representatives from stakeholders. This Group will advise on the Strategy’s implementation and the measurement tools to be used.
An implementation plan will be developed. The Strategy states that “It is envisaged that a combination of surveys, research and the establishment of baseline data will be used” for measurement and monitoring. Annual updates on the policy’s implementation will be published.
The National Volunteering Strategy 2021-25 is Ireland’s first volunteering strategy. No revisions or updates have taken place.