A local volunteer centre has reported a 25 per cent increase in the number of people contacting its service for the first time last year seeking volunteering work. More than half of these had never volunteered before.
According to the Volunteer Galway's annual report for 2015, which is just published, it estimates that since it was set up 10 years ago, the equivalent of €7 million worth of volunteer hours have been generated by people using its service in the city and county.
It revealed that people volunteering through its service donated more than 31,000 hours in volunteering in 2015 and 280,000 hours since its inception in 2006.
A total of 10,800 volunteers registered with the organisation since it was set up, while 1,055 registered last year.
Speaking at the launch of its annual report, Galway city Mayor Noel Larkin congratulated Volunteer Galway on its work and impact in 2015 and in previous years.
"I would encourage anyone living in Galway to get involved in their local community and Volunteer Galway is ready and willing to help people find out how."
Donncha Foley, the development manager of the organisation, stated that the figures in its report highlight that volunteering is an option that is considered by many people in Galway.
"More and more non-profit organisations use our service to advertise volunteer roles and connect with people wanting to make a difference in Galway."
In addition to its regular service to members of the public, Volunteer Galway also developed a specialised support service, Flourish, to assist people recovering from mental health challenges to volunteer as part of their recovery. It also vetted more than 750 volunteers for non-profit organisations to assist them with the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
The report also highlights that Volunteer Galway continues to build on its services to the community, by establishing the Galway Community Excellence Network which sources training and expert advice on organisational management for non-profit groups.
"There are many non-profits in Galway that find it incredibly difficult to access supports to enable them to build on their successes and we believe that we are best placed to assist them in this," said Mr Foley.
Since 2006, Volunteer Galway has been helping members of the public to volunteer and helping community organisations to find volunteers, by providing a constantly updated list of volunteer roles on its website www.volunteergalway.ie The Volunteer Galway team meet people to help them choose volunteer roles that match their interests and availability.
"We are always amazed by the amount of people who come to us with a desire to do something to help others," added Mr Foley. "We provide a confidential service that gets people doing something that they like and benefits others at the same time."
For further information on Volunteer Galway and Galway Community Excellence Network contact Donncha Foley on (087 ) 1353546 or [email protected]