The Irish Red Cross Calls For Volunteers

Irish Red Cross volunteers Kate Traynor, Justine Bellew (front) and Aaron Taylor with Graham Ross, Lottoland Ireland Country Manager at the Irish Red Cross Dundalk Branch HQ. Photo: Tony Gavin

The Irish Red Cross is appealing for new volunteers in Wicklow to bolster its family and community support efforts which have seen a huge 7,500% increase in demand because of the pandemic. There are 110 volunteers in Wicklow.  Since March 2020, demand for at-home visits in support of the elderly as well as isolated and vulnerable households – especially in rural areas – has increased from just a few hundred visits per year to over 15,000 visits during this period. Furthermore, with the increase of testing with the Delta and Omicron COVID variants, the charity has seen a major upswing in demands on its National Ambulance Service with units – having made nearly 1,000 patient transfers since March 2020 for non-emergency treatments like chemotherapy or dialysis appointments as well as GP or dental appointments for older people.

As a result of the 2020 lockdowns, large areas of the country were left in shock and uncertainty.  In response, Irish Red Cross volunteer units from across the island joined together with local communities and rallied to protect the most vulnerable. As we head into 2022, the Irish Red Cross expects an excess of 268,000 volunteer hours to have been spent on essential community support work since the start of the pandemic.  This is the equivalent of over 11,000 days or 30 years of dedicated volunteer time. The call for more people to consider becoming volunteers for the good of others was made this week by the Irish Red Cross with the support of their corporate partner Lottoland.

The type of services that need further volunteer support includes checking in on the elderly in remote areas over the phone or through video calls, delivering essential supplies of food, medication, or heating fuel as well as providing daily shopping runs, collecting medications, and assisting Meals on Wheels services to meet their increased demand.

Pat Carey, Chair of the Irish Red Cross, said “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Irish Red Cross, connecting communities across Ireland. We couldn’t continue our work without their vital contribution. By giving their time and skills to help provide essential services in times of crisis, they impact the lives of so many vulnerable people every year. We are calling on the public now, to join us in our efforts, and ask you to please contact the Irish Red Cross today about becoming a volunteer”.

Graham Ross, Ireland Country Manager for Lottoland said “Since the start of our partnership with the Irish Red Cross in 2018, one of the many hugely impressive aspects of the organization has been the spirit of volunteerism that is the backbone of the Irish Red Cross nationally.  To see people of all ages and backgrounds give of themselves so selflessly in delivering the array of services provided is humbling and heart-warming. Clearly, the pandemic has created a whole new set of logistical challenges that the charity has risen magnificently to meet but additional donations and especially volunteers are critical to continuing to meet these challenges into 2022. We’re proud to directly support the charity with up to 20% of the sales from our various charity products including the Win-Win Charity Lotto & Scratch Card, plus the standalone Irish Red Cross Scratch Card, but we know much more is needed to keep helping those who need it most at this uniquely challenging time for Irish society.”

The Irish Red Cross needs you! Contact us today for information on volunteering with us. Email or call 01 642 4600.