Mily Farrell, Cope Foundation Volunteer Coordinator, Emma and David, people supported by Cope Foundation and Denis Buckley, Cope Foundation Volunteer as the Cope Foundation put out a call for new volunteers. Photo: Aoife O’Connell

More volunteers needed says Cope

An organisation which helps people with intellectual disabilities in Cork is hoping to increase the number of volunteers it has to pre-Covid-19 numbers.

Cope Foundation was founded by volunteers 66 years ago and currently has about 90 volunteers who are involved in a range of activities which include music, drama, art, independent living skills, community outings and gardening. Pre-Covid-19, the number of volunteers was nearly 200.

The organisation is now putting out a call for new volunteers to fill roles requiring a wide range of skills. The call came during National Volunteering Week which is aimed at amplifying the incredible stories of volunteering in communities across the country.

The organisation supports 2,800 people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism across a growing network of more than 70 locations in Cork city and county. Cope Foundation looks for volunteers with a variety of skills and from across all age groups.

Many retired people enjoy the routine of a regular weekly role while younger people want to gain work experience in the sector. Some family members of people supported by Cope Foundation volunteer as they want to give back.

Milly Farrell is the organisation’s first full-time Volunteer Coordinator. She said: “Having spent almost 24 years in the HR Division of Cope Foundation, it was my great pleasure to take on the role of Volunteer Coordinator 9 years ago. Cope Foundation was founded by volunteers and has always had their involvement in some capacity. National Volunteer Week is a great opportunity to highlight our wonderful volunteers across the organisation and a good opportunity for anyone who is thinking about volunteering to make a difference to the lives of people we support.”

Denis Buckley, Cope Foundation Volunteer, said: “The reason I volunteer is because life has been really good to me and my family. I’m retired and I just wanted to give something back. I work in a classroom environment assisting a teacher.

“I love the interaction with the students and seeing them develop and grow. I’ve been volunteering for the last 6 months and I really enjoy it. I get a lot out of it, and I think the students do too.”