In 1993, the Area Action Plan of the Tallaght Partnership recognised that volunteering could be part of a continuum in getting unemployed people into further education and training and also into employment. It also recognised that volunteers and volunteering was under-supported in the Tallaght area and whereas on one hand organisations were finding it difficult to recruit volunteer, on the other hand volunteers were finding it difficult to access interesting opportunities and were also feeling under-supported and over-stretched. At the time there was no structured support in place to deal with these problems.
The Tallaght Welfare Society obtained funding from the Partnership for a feasibility study to explore the need for a Volunteer Development Resource Unit for Tallaght. The study recommended that a volunteer bureau be set up and specified four key areas of initial activity:
- Skills Training
First Steering Committee
A steering committee was set up to develop a plan, based on these priorities, for the formation of the Bureau. This steering committee was drawn from representatives of the community and voluntary sector in Tallaght.
This steering committee developed a three-year Work Plan, which has been the basis for the activities of the bureau from February 1999 to date. It also sourced funding from Comhairle to core fund the bureau including a manager's salary in January 1999. A manager took office in February 1999 with the official opening of the bureau taking place in July 1999 thus launching the first Volunteer Centre in Ireland.
It was agreed that an on-going Management Committee/Board of Directors, would replace the initial Steering Committee. As of December 2001, the Management Committee comprised representatives of:
- A Volunteer Representative
- Business In the Community
- Tallaght Welfare
- South Dublin County Council
- Tallaght Citizens Information Centre
- Tallaght Hospital Volunteer Service
- Tallaght Youth Service
Today, South Dublin County Volunteer Centre is registered as a company limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors. The manager reports directly to the Board of Directors on a six weekly basis. The present staffing compliment of the Volunteer Bureau is:
- Manager (Fulltime)
- Placement Officers x2
- Organisational Support worker
- 1 TUS Placement support worker
We are situated in Exchange Hall in Tallaght and Luke Cullen House in Clondalkin.
Initially South Dublin County Volunteer Centre was set up to serve the greater Tallaght area (including Firhouse, Blessington Road and Saggart) but over the last number of years we have recruited and supported volunteers from the greater Dublin area and beyond. In 2005 the Volunteer Centre extended its' remit to cover the entire county of South Dublin and set up a new office in Clondalkin (based in South Dublin County Council) which is staffed also 5 days per week.