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Have you spare time and are you interested in doing something worthwhile? Are you interested in working with people with an intellectual disability? Are you interested in volunteering? If so, read on to learn more about what is involved in becoming a volunteer!

Why Volunteer?

Most volunteers find the experience rewarding, fulfilling and very significant in their own personal development.

What does it take to become a Volunteer?

Volunteers should be reliable and patient to the needs of others and most importantly, willing to have a little fun. No specific skills are required to participate in the Ability West Volunteer Programme, training is provided. Volunteers are matched to a suitable placement according to their disposition, personal traits, and sometimes through ‘hidden’ talents such as art skills, drama experience, etc. Some volunteers decide to befriend a person with an intellectual disability thereby affording more social opportunities such as going bowling, to the cinema, and shopping. Service users benefit from Person Centred Planning (PCP) which tailors work and leisure activities to suit individual needs and preference. Volunteers can play an important part in making these choices possible.

How Do I get Involved?

As Ability West provides services to children and vulnerable adults, there is a screening process for volunteers wishing to get involved. You will receive a volunteer pack which includes a Volunteer Application Form. On the application you must give the name of three referees and complete a Garda Clearance Form. When completed, return the application in the Freepost envelope and your form will be processed straight away. The Volunteer Programme Manager will contact you to meet for a coffee and chat to discuss the most suitable volunteering experience for you. A minimum commitment of 6 months is required.


All volunteers must complete a training session which consists of three modules before any placement can commence:

Attitudes towards People with an Intellectual Disability

  • Awareness and Understanding of Intellectual Disability
  • Client Protection Training Volunteer

Training takes place one Saturday every 4-6 weeks.

What Support Will I Receive?

The Volunteer Programme Manager or the service user’s key worker provides ongoing support to the volunteer. The Volunteer Programme Manager is always available to meet volunteers to discuss any issues which may arise from the volunteering experience.

Ability West has developed a social networking site for its volunteers. This will give volunteers an opportunity to see what events are happening at Ability West and to facilitate greater communication among its volunteers. A Volunteer Event or Get Together is organised at least once yearly to give volunteers a chance to meet and share their volunteering experience with each other.

What’s in it for me?

Volunteering is a wonderful way of meeting new people, building on personal skills learning about others (and yourself) and doing something special with your free time.

In this time of economic gloom, there is no downturn in the generosity of people to help others. There is a feel good factor in getting involved, in knowing that in some small way, one has made a difference to the life of another person or to some aspect of your own community. Winston Churchill quite rightly said “we make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give”.

Why not contact the Volunteer Department today and see what difference you can make!

Contact Person: Linda Keane, Volunteer Programme Manager Telephone: 091-540923 Mobile: 087-9971558 Email: volunteers@abilitywest.ie

Check out our Volunteer Brochure for further information.

Volunteer Docs