A notice of motion brought by SDLP Councillor Ashleen Schenning calling for the council to recognise the importance and impact of volunteers in the Causeway Coast and Glens area over the last 12 months, has passed unanimously.
Addressing the virtual council chamber, Councillor Schenning said: “I’m sure it comes as no surprise to my colleagues here in the chamber from my background that I have a passion for volunteering and the community voluntary sector.”
Cllr Schenning’s motion called for the council to “pay tribute to those in the community and voluntary sector who have stepped up to support the delivery of critical Covid – 19 related services over the past year”.
It also called for the local authority to “continue to strive to make the funding application a more simplified process while staying within the guidelines and requirements of outside funding bodies and this council will further provide employees with the opportunity to benefit from the experience of volunteering through the Employer Supported Volunteering Scheme”.
Cllr Schenning added: “We have seen how everybody on the ground has stepped up to the mark and supported the statutory organisations who maybe weren’t able to step outside their stringent bureaucracy over the last year and in particular over the first three months whenever we are in total lockdown. In the Roe Valley Response Network alone there were over 400 volunteers on the ground delivering services to the more vulnerable.”
Helena Dallat O’Driscoll seconded the motion saying: “I would like to pay tribute to all volunteers across Causeway Coast & Glens, in particular, my own DEA Bann, from Castlerock right down to Kilrea. We have lived through truly unprecedented times and the manner in which our volunteers and organisations have stepped up to the plate has been overwhelming.
“I am confident that most, if not all, will share my gratitude and admiration for our volunteers throughout the entire borough. I hope we can all agree that a more simplified funding application process would be beneficial whilst obviously staying within the guidelines and parameters.
All members of the Leisure & Development Committee were unanimous in their support for the motion.
Speaking after the vote, Councillor Schenning said; “I was delighted to bring my volunteer motion before the Leisure and Development committee and even more delighted to see it passed unanimously. Thank you to my colleague Helena Dallat O’Driscoll for her support in seconding the motion.
“I am so proud of all our volunteers across the borough and look forward to seeing council staff experience volunteering through the Employer Supported Volunteering Scheme.”