THE BROTHERS of Charity services in Newcastle West have asked members of the local community to volunteer and share some of their Christmas spirit with an intellectually disabled person.
The service’s centre at Lacey’s Cross recently held an open day to all at once say thank you to those who have helped them throughout 2012, and also to invite more people to get involved in the New Year.
Aoife Keogh of the Brothers of Charity, Newcastle West said that their door is always open: “We love to see new volunteers calling up. It’s very rewarding, and if people aren’t sure they can just call up, have a look around and talk to us.
“We don’t look for a huge commitment from anybody, all we normally ask for is one visit a month.”
Ms Keogh said that the Brothers of Charity are particularly keen to get people involved in their ongoing Cara friendship programme, in which members of the local community are matched up with one of the service users, and help them to get out and about.
From a trip to the supermarket to days out in the city, the scheme is an opportunity for people to give something back to their community while becoming a cherished friend for a disabled person.
“[The service users] are completely accepting. They don’t care if you’re tall or small, or fat or thin. They don’t see any of that.
“They’re just so happy that there’s somebody here who’s going to do something nice for them, and treat them properly. That’s their reward.”
The scheme has been running for over a year in all of the Brothers of Charity’s facilities in County Limerick, and has become a major part of the service’s volunteer programme.
Ms Keogh said that this month’s open day was a pleasant occasion for all involved, and marked an opportunity for the officials and service users to show their gratitude.
“The open day went really well. The idea of it was to just say thanks to everyone who’d been involved during the year.
“We sent out invites to all our volunteers and everyone who helped out. We get new people coming in all the time”
Ms Keogh said that working with adults with special needs is “very rewarding”, and encouraged anyone interested in community and volunteer work to get in touch by calling 069 62733.