Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed the review on the Citizen’s information Service which highlights the value of volunteers and recognises the work that they have contributed to their communities.
Speaking on the issue, Deputy Whitmore says, “The review is an important confirmation of the importance of the role of volunteers. Volunteers have always been the backbone of the Citizens Information Service and it was very disappointing for many, both workers and volunteers when the value of the work that they had completed wasn’t appreciated.”
“I expressed serious concerns this time last year about the future of the Citizens Information Service, especially with the closure of services in Wicklow Town. The structural changes that saw the contributions of volunteers no longer needed have had a negative impact on their communities.
“It is really important that the recommendations are acted upon immediately. Ultimately, volunteers need to be given the support to re-engage and I will continue to push for the services to be reinstated as they were. County Wicklow is now reduced to only 2.5 full time paid staff to cover the entire county with only Arklow and Bray offices currently open.”
“Furthermore, outreach services were closed down as they are primarily run by volunteers, which meant that Baltinglass and Laragh no longer had services. This report validates the work of the volunteers in these services and helps make the case for these services to be reinstated.”
“The demand of Citizen’s Information Centre is only going to get greater as we welcome more people into our communities who need a central point like the Citizens Information Service to access the information.”
“Volunteers in many cases are the first point of contact for drop-in and appointment services. There is a consensus among many workers that their absence has had a negative impact on the service as a whole,” concludes Whitmore.