Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
69. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will report on the new volunteering strategy; her plans to implement same; the level of engagement with communities in its development; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43812/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 81 together.
I am pleased to advise that the National Volunteering Strategy was launched on the 5thDecember, which coincided with International Volunteering Day. The purpose of the National Volunteering Strategy is to recognise, support and promote the unique value and contribution of volunteers to Irish society. It also provides an opportunity for Government to acknowledge how important volunteering is to the well-being of the nation and to steer the delivery of an agreed and ambitious vision.
Supporting the role of volunteers in our society is an important element of my Department’s work in developing vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities. The development of the first National Volunteering Strategy (2021-2025) has been a key priority for my Department in 2020.
The Strategy comprises five high level objectives, with 56 associated actions and it outlines a whole-of-government framework to support the volunteering environment.
Public participation has been at the forefront in developing this Strategy. This has included a Call for Input launched in December 2018, the establishment of a National Advisory Group representative of all stakeholders and chaired by the Minister of State, the engagement of our young people through a consultation event with Foróige and a further public consultation process undertaken in December 2019.
The next step for my Department is to form an Implementation Group drawn from various stakeholders across the sector. This group will assist my Department to implement the actions contained in the Strategy over the next five years and will monitor and evaluate progress on delivery.
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation will allow us to determine the impact and also to review and refocus the Strategy over the five year period, where necessary. Appropriate mechanisms will be needed to monitor and evaluate progress and these will be developed as part of an implementation plan.