Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories

Alex Duffy

Volunteering with the Irish Girls Guides

Alex Duffy is a volunteer with the Ballybay Ladybirds.  In Alex’s own words she is really enjoying her time spent volunteering and getting so much from it on both a personal and professional level. ‘I had an interested in youth work and I wanted experience of volunteering with younger children, I started with the Ladybirds , I have enjoyed it so much, I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering to just go for it, it has opened lots of doors for me and provided me with opportunities I wouldn’t have had.’

New Meals on Wheels Volunteers During Covid-19

Siobhan Lambe has been volunteering with the Monaghan Integrated Development Meal on Wheels service during the Covid-19 crisis. She delivers hot meals to older people in the Carrickmacross area three days each week. Here’s her story in her own words.”For the past few years I signed up to volunteer with Monaghan Volunteer Centre and I received emails regularly about needs for volunteers for different areas in my locality. But I felt I could never fit anything in with my work and everyday life. When the covid epidemic hit I was laid off like many, so I took this opportunity to help others when I had the chance. It was a blessing for me as it helped me maintain some structure to my life, which I thrive on and I felt it was a rewarding thing for me personally.

I deliver meals to this who are cocooning. This has been such an uplifting experience for me and helped me with my own mental health and the best part is I am helping others at the same time!! It makes me want to get a career in this area… I just thoroughly love this.”


“The Meals on Wheels service had a very friendly and homely feel to every moment spent volunteering. It was a great opportunity to give back to the community during the Covid-19 crisis and a rewarding experience to help those in isolation. The role highlighted to me the need to support these frontline charities and to just get involved.”

Monaghan volunteer helps Mayo organisation

“The rise in online volunteering has made it possible for volunteers to take on roles with organisations all over Ireland. One example we really liked was how Monaghan woman Dianne shared her knowledge of local history with a group in Mayo.

The Irish Wheelchair Association in Mayo posted a volunteer role on our national volunteering database, I-Vol. It was for volunteers to join an online meeting of their group as a guest speaker or tutor. They were open to all kinds of ideas, such as storytelling, crafts, gardening – anything that might interest the group. Dianne saw this role online and got in touch with Monaghan Volunteer Centre. We put her in contact with the IWA group in Mayo. Dianne joined a meeting as a guest speaker and shared her knowledge of the history of Clones. She showed some Clones lace pieces and explained the story of how Clones lace began as a famine relief project in 1847. She went on to give the group a virtual guided tour of Clones and tell them about its history.

There are lots more online volunteer roles can be found at SEARCH Click on the blue button with the picture of a house to narrow your search to roles that can be done from home. For more information on Clones Lace and Clones history see CLONES

Clones High Cross on the Diamond in Clones

Befriending Monaghan

“I started doing some `Good Morning`phone calls during lockdown. Initially I wasn’t quite sure how things would go when I would call someone who had never spoken to me or met me. However my concerns were quickly put to bed after the first call.

Just because someone is living on their own or not in the best of health doesn’t mean they haven’t a good story to tell or a unique way of seeing how the world is turning. People have been very sharing of their lives and friendships build quickly over the phone. The diversity of experiences shared has been amazing — the merits of a cordless vacuum cleaner to the joys of Netflix ! One person spoke about growing up during six years of World War 2 in England and the difficulties of the post war years, and we think we`ve never had it so bad !

For me it has been a pleasure to be part of these lives and if folks on the other end of the call enjoy it half as much as I do — its been worthwhile. Many thanks to the people in Monaghan Volunteer Centre for doing a good job with a smile.”


Befriending Monaghan Logo

Volunteering from home

Kristina Kolosova has been registered with the Volunteer Centre since 2019. During the Covid-19 lockdown Kristina decided to volunteer from home by making gifts for the Team Hope Christmas Shoe Box appeal. We loved seeing some of Kristina’s creations and we know the children who receive them at the end of 2020 will appreciate her hard work. 

In Kristina’s own words; 

‘I think making toys with your own hands for children far, far away is amazing, I find it therapeutic for myself, in these uncertain times doing things like this can help people feel they are not alone. 

I feel very happy to create a little piece of joy for kids. I am doing a good deed and my hands and my mind are occupied while in lockdown. When you see those cute toys it just makes you smile, it benefits not just children but yourself and your family as you can involve everyone. There is no need to be experienced in knitting or crocheting. There are plenty free tutorials online and many of them are suitable for beginners.’

Volunteering with Coder Dojo

Liam from County Monaghan

“Throughout my time in college I had participated in a number of volunteering groups, working with disadvantaged youths and the college community. Since leaving college and working full time, I wanted to give back some of my time to help where I can in my own local community. Having a background in software I chose to volunteer with the Castleblayney CoderDojo and share some of my knowledge with the kids who were interested in learning how to code.

Although joining the team late in the year, I enjoyed my time and I am looking forward to when it returns in the new term. The other volunteers were great and it’s clear to see the kids appreciate their support and the chance to learn something new. The staff in Monaghan Volunteer Bureau are supportive and made the process of joining very straight forward.”

computer code on screen

A special volunteer meets a unique group

In January 2019 Grace from Monaghan Volunteer Centre visited CRANOG to talk about a possible volunteering programme. CRANOG is a facility based in Castleblayney which provides community resource facilities for people with disabilities and their families. A number of years ago the Volunteer Centre placed a woodwork tutor who had delivered workshops within the centre. Grace met with some service users, staff and the manager Tommy Collins and it was decided that a workshop in arts and crafts was a possible option. Around this time Ciara had registered with the Volunteer Centre. Ciara was put in touch with CRANOG manager Tommy and they agreed to run a furniture up-cycling workshop.

This class has been running successfully over the past few weeks allowing the group to experience a new activity and develop new skills. The group environment which has been cultivated by Ciara is very supportive; everyone can participate and group members work to support each other. Ciara has developed a great rapport with the group and there is plenty of chat and laughs as they work. She is excellent at encouraging and involving everyone. She has many strands to her artistic talents and creativity and has enjoyed being able to share these with the group. This project has a positive experience for Ciara and the service users and the feedback from all involved has been fantastic. 

Carmel McArdle - Volunteer with a Local Primary School

I spent 37 years running a business in Monaghan Town with my husband. I always had an interest in helping children to read, and had previously volunteered on a reading project at my children’s secondary school. I also did some volunteering on an adult literacy project, but always preferred volunteering with children. When I retired I took a holiday, then started to think about what to do next. I knew about Monaghan Volunteer Centre through my son, who used it to start volunteering with Special Olympics a few years ago.

I dropped in to the Volunteer Centre one day in November 2017 and met Sinéad. She took my details and registered me with the Centre. Then we had a chat about my interests and experience and what type of volunteering would suit me best. I really wanted to volunteer in a primary school. No school had asked the Volunteer Centre to find a volunteer, but Sinéad suggested that she could contact some local schools and see if they would be interested. It took until after Christmas, but Sinéad found a school that was interested in getting me involved and I went to meet the principal and junior infants’ teacher at the end of January and got on really well. They were really keen to get me involved.

Before I could start volunteering with the children my Garda vetting had to be completed. I started volunteering after the Easter holidays. I volunteer two days per week, helping the junior infants’ teacher with her class of 27 children. Having a second adult available means that the class can get out and about more easily. For example, we have taken them on nature walks around Peter’s Lake. I help out with whatever the teachers ask me to do, I will be going on the school tour and helping at parents’ evening.

The staff are really appreciative and friendly and I enjoy working with them. I love volunteering in the school, it brightens up the whole week. I’m tired after it but it is really enjoyable and I plan to continue for as long as I am able. To anyone who is thinking about volunteering but isn’t sure – go for it! I was apprehensive at the start but once I went to the Volunteer Centre and met Sinéad it was fine. The process took a bit longer than I expected but Sinéad made the process easy for me and always kept me updated on what was happening. I find volunteering so rewarding and enjoyable.

photo of knitted Easter chicks on table

Lorraine Lambe

“Working fulltime I was unsure if I would be suitable for volunteering as I thought there would be a large time commitment involved, but I soon realised that volunteering comes in all forms. There is such a wide range of opportunities on the website that it would be hard not to find one that makes you want to get stuck in. I first signed up to help transcribe letters from 1916, and it was so fascinating. I was delighted to be a part of something that gave a real insight to a key period of Irish history.

More recently, I spotted the opportunity to help knit Easter chicks for Cairde, and I couldn’t wait to grab my needles! From word go Josephine from Cairde was very helpful, she sent me the pattern right away and offered to supply wool if needed. She ensured me there was no deadlines or expectations, that any help was greatly appreciated. My mother is a fond knitter so she too was eager to get involved, which made it a nice bonding activity for us to do together. Finally handing the chicks over and seeing them in shops makes the whole experience so rewarding and just inspires me see what other opportunities are available. I would encourage anyone to get involved in volunteering were they can, it can be so fulfilling and give you a real sense of purpose.”

Fergal McMahon

Fergal McMahon from Silverstream, Monaghan volunteers regularly at the Solas Drop in Centre. He is also a dedicated fundraiser and regularly organises and takes parts in collections for a range of charities including Barnardos, Aware, the Simon Community and more. 

Solas logo in garden of Solas Centre

Dianne McPhelim

“As a busy working Mum I didn’t think I could dedicate enough time to volunteering on a regular basis. But volunteering comes in all forms, and I discovered I could help without leaving the house. Initially I registered to assist in a 1916 letters project through Trinity College online, now I knit for two charities; Team Hope, which organises Christmas boxes to be sent abroad and a premature baby unit. The staff in Monaghan Volunteer Bureau are supportive and helpful, and have a volunteer opportunity for everyone, no matter what age or ability, no matter how little time you have to spare.”