1 Depaul Ireland Ravara House, 1 Fitzwilliam Avenue, Ormeau Road Belfast, BT7 2HJ, VOLUNTEER INFORMATION DEPAUL IRELAND EUROPEAN VOLUNTARY SERVICE SUPPORTING INFORMATION BELFAST / UK
2 WHO ARE WE? DEPAUL IRELAND SUPPORT VULNERABLE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOMELESS OR AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS. DEPAUL BELIEVES THAT HOMELESSNESS HAS NO PLACE. We work from low threshold principles to provide accommodation and key services to people who are often multiply excluded from other services. Our services span community and outreach, vulnerable families, harm reduction accommodation services and criminal justice and mental health services. Depaul Ireland offers homeless and disadvantaged people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and move towards an independent and positive future. AIM: Everyone has a place to call home and a stake in their community. Depaul Ireland is part of a wider International Group structure Depaul International, with other subsidiaries in the UK, Ukraine, Slovakia, USA and France. Depaul Ireland shares close links with other members of the Vincentian Family and in the establishment of Depaul Ireland in Dublin in 2002, the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentian Fathers were our founding partners. However, its staff and its service users are drawn from all walks of life other faiths or no faith at all. It is nonjudgmental in the same way that Vincent de Paul was non-judgmental. The focus is on innovation and action. WHERE ARE WE? Depaul Ireland is located in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our hosting Projects are situated in Dublin and Belfast. Belfast is the main city of Northern Ireland. Belfast is a small city with a vibrant social and cultural life. Belfast is served by two airports and there is also a coach service that connects the city centre to Dublin airport. Belfast is also ideal to use as a base for touring other parts of Northern Ireland. It enjoys good road and rail links to many scenic destinations, such as the Giants Causeway, the city of Derry, Mourne Mountains, Fermanagh lakes and many more. The city hosts a number of significant arts festivals over the year and also has a diverse array of bars, nightclubs, theatres, venues, restaurants and cinemas. Political and sectarian violence was a part of life in Belfast for thirty years from the late 1960s. Although the city continues to experience tensions between its two communities, it has been engaged in a peace process since the mid-1990s and political strife does not generally affect outsiders to the area. The city and its inhabitants are friendly to newcomers and Depaul NI undertakes to place volunteers in accommodation away from potential sectarian problem areas. WHY DO WE NEED VOLUNTEERS? In our projects we see volunteers as an important aspect of our work. This includes both part time volunteers who commit a few hours per week and full time volunteers from other European countries. Adding an EVS component to the various projects can be described as being at the roots of the Vincentian ethos, under which our projects operates. Volunteers are an essential part of our work and none of the projects of Depaul Ireland would be the same without them. Our services are provided by a fully paid and qualified staff team so volunteers can fulfill additional beneficial activities.
3 WHAT IS IT WE DO? Depaul Ireland manages projects for homeless and disadvantaged people in both Belfast and Dublin. Volunteer Opportunities, Belfast,, UK EVS Codes Stella Maris Project 2013-GB GB-154 Homeless Families Project 2013-GB GB-153 (Mater Dei & Cloverhill Family Services) Castlehill Project Not hosting Foyle Haven Not Hosting Depaul Ireland Belfast Co-ordinating Code 2013-GB GB-152 Volunteer Opportunities, Dublin, ROI EVS Codes Sundial House 2012-IE-15 Orchid House 2012-IE-16 Tús Nua 2012-IE-17 Back Lane Hostel 2012-IE-18 Peter s Place 2012-IE-19 Ballymun Outreach Project Not hosting Rendhu Appartments Not hosting HOW DO VOLUNTEERS HELP? Volunteers greatly enhance the service that we can provide for our service users. They bring a huge intercultural dimension to the lives of our service users. Volunteer work is centered round worthwhile activities. Volunteers participate in activities with the service users that staff sometimes do not have the time to do. Volunteer activities are part of our holistic approach to supporting service users. WHAT DO VOLUNTEERS DO? The most important thing our volunteers do is build good supportive relationships with our service users. EVS volunteers have been involved in many different activities, the aim of which is to boost the skills and self esteem of our service users. For example: Art, crafts or music workshops Life Skills classes like basic literacy & numeracy, computers, cookery, job skills Games and Quizzes Film Night, Keep Fit Class, Cultural Awareness, Family Activities Organising seasonal events (Valentine s Day, Halloween, Christmas etc) Helping the overall organization with events, awareness raising and fundraising / T
4 Project staff encourage volunteers to take initiative in arranging such activities if they feel comfortable to do so. Volunteers are encouraged to consult with the staff and service users to plan and identify what activities would be suitable. Staff can support their work and carry out necessary risk assessment. Meeting young people from other European countries can generate an interest in other aspects of life formerly unknown to our service users and work against perceptions, prejudice and xenophobia they may hold. Including an EVS element to the projects is exciting as the volunteers will be working with individuals who may have had no contact with life outside of Northern Ireland. We hope EVS will bring a cultural dimension to the project, which offers these individuals a small taste of what life is like outside their home-town including different languages, food, cultures and ideas. Building Relationships with Service Users contact with a side of modern day life they may not have encountered previously. In the past volunteers have got involved in other aspects of Depaul Ireland s work that they are interested in. Volunteers have also been involved in research, marketing, fundraising and helping with events. We very much value the unique skills and talents that volunteers bring to the organisation and try, where possible, to use these skills and talents to the benefit of the organisation. Volunteers will gain a broad range of experience extremely beneficial to their future life and personal development. These include: Good communication skills Ability to respond appropriately to challenging situations An understanding of providing professional support for vulnerable people An understanding of issues surrounding homelessness Harm Reduction working practices Experience of a holistic style of working Some of our service users are quite self sufficient whilst others can be living quite chaotic lives and appear apathetic towards engaging in activities. Volunteers must be aware that it this is normal in our Services and it takes time to build rapport with our service users and patience to discover what approach will be suitable. The volunteer role does NOT include the following: Covering or substituting a paid staff role Over night shifts Key-working (personal support) Counselling / therapy roles BENEFITS TO THE VOLUNTEER It can be a very enriching experience for the volunteers themselves as well as for the disadvantaged service users staying in the various projects. The volunteer may come in WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES? Understanding the strong Northern Irish accent and local way of speaking Service user apathy Service user physical and/or mental health issues The chaotic lifestyles of the service user and the impact on the Service Service users can be difficult to engage: - Stella Maris service users have alcohol dependency and can often be drunk - Family Projects have self contained flats and own daily personal commitments - Family Projects do not have a babysitting service so it can be hard for parents to get involved in activities Sometimes the only children in Family Projects are babies Our frequently cold and wet climate!
5 PRACTICAL INFO Volunteers will be offered a single room in a house in their chosen Project s city (Belfast or Dublin see separate EVS recruitment information). The main facilities such as kitchen and living space will be shared with other volunteers. Volunteers will be given specific information about their particular living arrangements, before deciding whether to accept the offer of a place with Depaul Ireland. The house will be fully furnished and equipped with bedding, kitchen items, TV/DVD player etc. Volunteers will be provided with a weekly pocket money allowance in Pounds Sterling (Belfast, UK) or Euros (Dublin, ROI). If the project has catering facilities they may eat their meals there. Volunteers will prepare their own meals in their house, in a kitchen shared with other volunteers. The allowance will be paid weekly and Volunteers will be given support to obtain an Irish bank account so that direct deposits can be arranged. Appropriate local travel cards will also be arranged. Volunteers will also be given time off to investigate Ireland and the UK and visit volunteers based in other projects. Annual leave entitlements accrue at the same rate as a other project team members (i.e. EVS volunteers get approximately 2 days of annual leave for every month volunteered, and also are entitled to take Bank Holidays). All volunteers are responsible for ensuring that they acquire the correct visa required to travel and live Belfast / United Kingdom. Please refer to: to determine your own needs. It is also essential that a volunteer passport is valid for the duration of the placement. The volunteer may seek assistance from the sending organization or coordinating organization in order to prepare these documents. We recognise the need for variation in the working life of the volunteer while away from home. For this reason we aim to give volunteers an ability to visit other Depaul Ireland projects when possible. The variety of placements available to the volunteer will give them a diverse insight into the myriad of social problems facing homeless people as well as making their time with us more interesting and varied. This will help the volunteer to discover and develop different skills and interests they possess. Every volunteer receives on-arrival training and mid-term training, which aims to prepare them for their placements and their stay in Dublin or Belfast, this training also contains a strong cultural perspective in order to provide volunteers with some background of cultural differences and similarities between Ireland and their home country.
6 VOLUNTEER SUPPORT & DEVELOPMENT Volunteer Supervisor and Volunteer Mentor The volunteer will have a Volunteer Supervisor and Volunteer Mentor. Volunteers will be supplied with their contact name and details before they arrive. Responsibilities Induct them to the activity or task Provide support for the volunteer while working alongside them Keep in contact with the volunteer Monitor progress and discuss any issues arising Ensure that the practical arrangements in the placement are adequate Ensure that the volunteer is receiving appropriate training Ensure that the volunteer is never lone working without support Ensure that the volunteer has a good balance between intercultural learning opportunity and voluntary placement work. We provide a structured induction programme for each volunteer. This induction helps develop volunteers skills for working with homeless people and also imparts knowledge like Health and Safety, handling challenging situations, Professional Boundaries, Confidentiality etc. Depaul Ireland also has an ongoing training programme which covers areas such as drugs and alcohol awareness, managing and preventing crisis, child protection etc. All volunteers will have access to this training programme. The volunteers will also be assessed for English language support and be provided with support depending on their level of need. Volunteers learn about issues relating to homelessness in general, they also learn about equal opportunities and about the culture and society of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. After induction the volunteers will be involved in getting to know service users and organising activities. Volunteers will also play a role in briefing and debriefing sessions at the beginning and end of every shift in which health and safety issues are handed over from one team to another. Arrival Volunteers who are placed with us also enjoy an intercultural experience. Volunteers are generally on induction for the first two weeks of the project. During this time they participate in a tour of the host city they are placed in with the volunteer mentor of the project. They are also given the opportunity to visit sites of historical and cultural significance with the service users of the project they are working in. During volunteers time with us, our experience has been that volunteers learn a lot about the culture and country that they are living in. We promote Northern Irish life with volunteers and encourage them to try local specialties of the area. Belfast, in particular, has a rich historical and cultural significance and volunteers who live in the city will learn much about the politics and culture of Northern Ireland today. Health and Safety Depaul Ireland take the Health and Safety of each volunteer particularly seriously. The building has been specifically designed with the health and safety of both staff and service users in mind. There are cameras throughout as well as clearly marked and accessible fire exits. Volunteers will not be required to work on their own. The building is always staffed by other staff members. Volunteers add value by providing activities but are not expected to work in isolation however Depaul Ireland does have a Lone Working policy. Their safety is paramount and emphasis is always placed on keeping staff and volunteers safe. For the first few weeks of the project, volunteers will be required to shadow project
7 workers. This will be a supportive mechanism to ensure that volunteers become familiar with the building policies and procedures as well as ensuring that they are supported and safe in the early induction phase. Language & Culture In many areas the volunteer will be involved in intercultural learning at the same time as they are volunteering on their activity. Intercultural learning is inseparable from most activities in the project as all concerned parties (i.e. the volunteers, the service users as well as staff) will be confronted with aspects from different cultures and different cultural values than their own. It will also equip the volunteers with life and communication skills that will enrich their personal life as well as professional career. Some activities will offer more opportunity for intercultural learning experience than others that will be more demanding and less educational. This is one of the reasons we have opted for a variety of activities. The Volunteer Co-ordinator has an overall view of the entire volunteering experience, and will ensure that these activities are appropriately balanced. from trauma, poor physical and mental health and low self esteem. Volunteers need to be motivated and be inspiring to service users who may be apathetic or simply do not know what interests them. We hope that by bringing some interests and skills of their own, volunteers will wish to share and develop an idea or project. Initially the volunteer s time will be spent getting orientated to their new home as well as training and induction. Afterwards the volunteer will be offered the opportunity to develop a project which is of particular interest to them. We will support the volunteer in developing this, but will allow them to take the lead in it, thereby improving their organisational and development skills. Volunteers are given the opportunity to diversify their project. Primarily the volunteer will spend their working week at activities related to their host Project However we may support Volunteers to organize joint projects that can be delivered in other Depaul projects. Volunteers are also expected to help with wider Depaul Ireland events, fundraising / awareness raising activities, Volunteer and EVS promotions etc. The volunteers working hours could be mornings, afternoons or evenings on weekdays or weekends, but they will also be given time off to investigate Ireland and the UK and visit volunteers based in other projects. Language Support Deapul Ireland will follow Erasmus+ guidelines for specific language support. Currently, Depaul Ireland will only pay for English Language classes for those volunteers who are assessed as below Intermediate level. We will review this as further information is available. Project Activities Volunteers are advised not to expect too much from service users in relation to their activities at first. Getting to know our service users and building a good relationship with them is essential. Our service users can be suffering A typical week could look something like this: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Morning Afternoon Evening Socialising with the Preparation of the art Free service users in the and crafts materials host project. Playing followed by workshop pool or chatting. (7 hour day) Accompanying a service user to the local shops. Working at another Depaul project with another EVS volunteer on a cultural project. Attendance at Team meeting & working with service users on health promotion project. (7 hour day) Free Thursday Free Meeting with staff & volunteers to prepare for a trip to a local park with service users. Friday Morning Breakfast Club Saturday Day Off Free Sunday Day Off Free Cooking Session life skills support for adults /children. (7 hour day) Free Quiz Night (6 hour day) Music Night (6 hour day)
8 STELLA MARIS PROJECT ENVIRONMENT Stella Maris is a Low Threshold, Harm Reduction homeless accommodation Service providing 24/7 support to long term street drinkers in the North Belfast area of Northern Ireland. The project works within a principle of 'harm reduction' which means that we work with service users at their level to provide the best possible interventions for them. Because of the needs of the service users the project has allocated 'wet areas' where service users can consume their own alcohol on site. The project provides its service users with a safe and comfortable home. It provides all the services one would normally expect in a hostel from single room accommodation to full catering and laundry facilities. During service users stay, they are also engaged in a key working system which allows them to gain access to welfare rights advice, health care, education and training and any other specialist services that they may need. Most importantly, the project provides a homely environment where people can feel safe and comfortable and begin to address the issues which may have led to them becoming homeless in the first place. Service Users are supported to move on to their own independent tenancy via the Housing First Service. Stella Maris is close to the dock area of Belfast over-looking the famous Titanic quarter and Harland and Wolff ship building cranes are located. The Service is close to bus and rail routes and is a 20 minute walk into the city. Service users may be living chaotic lives and it can be a challenge for volunteers to engage them in activities. Depaul Ireland celebrates even the smallest of achievement and volunteers should be patient when working with this client group who can be challenging and apathetic due to low self esteem and alcohol related health problems. Stella Maris Tasks Our aim is to open new possibilities for the project and its service users through the inclusion of volunteers. While the project staff often have to focus on the basic service provision the volunteers can concentrate solely on additional activities which will be of great benefit to the service users. Music: We have a number of musical instruments including percussion. Life skills: literacy, health awareness, hygiene, relaxation Arts & Crafts: Painting, mosaics, crafts, Cookery: We have a canteen facility photography, creative projects Games: board games, pool/snooker, computer games etc Gardening: We have 2 small yards with plants, trees, herbs and vegetables Accompany service users on trips outside the project / Befriending Spending time to talk and get to know the service users Volunteers own project build on your own personal skills & interests Stella Maris Volunteer Essential Skills Very patient and have the ability to inspire and motivate a challenging client group Empathic and non-judgmental Ability to use initiative and be flexible and open to new situations Interested in, and a basic understanding of the issues around homelessness Willing to work with people who are on the margins of society A good level of written and spoken English
9 HOMELESS FAMILIES PROJECT ENVIRONMENT The Homeless Families Project (Mater Dei and Cloverhill) are supported accommodation services for vulnerable families experiencing homelessness (ie. ranging from expectant mother through to mother, father and children). The Services have 14 / 18 self contained family units. There are large communal areas for the service users. The displacement of families is due to any number of factors such as inappropriate living arrangements, overcrowding, domestic violence and bereavement. In addition, many family relationships break down resulting in the need for temporary accommodation. Some of our resident parents are very young themselves and have had very little life experience. It is important that families are kept together and provided with high levels of support during any period of transition. Families are appointed a key worker to ensure they receive the appropriate support. A support plan (life skills, budgeting, parenting skills and health support) is developed between the service user and worker. The project provides the time and space during which families can address the issues which led to their housing crisis. The project supports families to gain practical skills which enable them to adapt to life after they have left the project. Floating Support workers support service users who move into their own tenancies. Mater Dei is situated in a residential area of North Belfast. It is close to a main road into the city centre. Buses are frequent and it is approximately a minute walk to the main shopping area at the centre of the city. Cloverhill is situated in a large residential area of West Belfast. It is located on a main road with buses into the city centre which take approximately 50 minutes. Volunteers will be placed with both host projects over different days of the week. Homeless Families Project Tasks Our aim is to open new possibilities for the project and its service users through the inclusion of volunteers. While the project staff often have to focus on the basic service provision the volunteers can concentrate solely on additional activities which will be of great benefit to the service users. Because service users have their own flats in the building it can be difficult to get them to socialize and participate in activities within the Project. On arrival, each volunteer will be inducted into the policies and procedures of the project. This will include training around safety procedures, professional boundaries, child protection, crisis prevention and intervention, importance of using team communication and other issues relating to working in a residential setting. Arts & Crafts: Painting, crafts, jewelry making, educational play Social activities film, games, quizzes Keep Fit, Dance classes, sport Gardening: Mater Dei has a small garden area that needs developed Life skills: literacy, health awareness, relaxation, parenting issues, money management, job search, cookery Health / Fitness promotion Accompanying resident families on trips outside the project /Befriending Spending time to talk and get to know the resident families
10 For the first few weeks of the project, volunteers will be required to shadow project workers. This will be a supportive mechanism to ensure that volunteers become familiar with the Project s policies and procedures as well as ensuring that they are supported and safe in the early induction phase. After induction the volunteers will get involved in workshops and activities. Volunteers will also play a role in team meetings and debriefing sessions in which any issues are handed over from one team to another. Homeless Families Volunteer Essential Skills Empathic and non-judgmental Patient and self motivated Ability to use initiative and be flexible and open to new situations Interested in, and a basic understanding of the issues around homelessness Willing to work with children (of all ages) and parents who are on the margins of society A good level of written and spoken English (We would recommend intermediate level) HOW TO APPLY FOR A DEPAUL EVS PROJECT We select volunteers according to Erasmus+ guidelines. This means that we look for volunteer candidates aged between 18 and 30 years and who are legally residing in a Programme Country or in a Partner Country. We seek a balance of varied ages, genders and nationalities amongst our EVS volunteers. Vacant EVS placements in the host projects are advertised on the European Commission Youth Portal website and the Youth Networks website. In order to fairly assess each candidate s suitability for each project, we ask each candidate to complete Depaul Ireland EVS Application which asks for the following information: 1. A volunteers motivation for applying to do EVS 2. A volunteers motivation for applying to the project 3. The volunteers general understanding of the factors that lead people to become homeless with reference to the particular client group of the project 4. The challenges that the volunteer anticipates when working in our projects 5. The skills and abilities a volunteer feels they will bring to the project 6. Their expectations of the role of an EVS volunteer within the host project? Volunteers are also required to produce 2 work/study related references, a relevant police clearance certificate from the country that they are travelling from and information relating to their medical history. A good level of spoken English is required as much of our work requires the ability to communicate and build relationships with our service users. s. Availability & Deadline Volunteer Application deadline: 5pm Friday 2 January 2015 nd Interviews: Week beginning 12th January Grant Application Deadline: Wed 4th February Volunteer Activity dates: 1 st July st June 2016 (11 Months) Contact Jenny Groves, Volunteer Co-ordinator at
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