by Alan Jacques
VOLUNTEER organisation ‘Serve the City’ will help fulfil the wish of a seriously ill man this week-end before transforming another man’s run down house into a habitable home.
The Limerick branch of ‘Serve the City’ is the newest member of what has become a global movement, founded in Brussels in 2005, and active in over 100 cities. However, unlike many other charities, it doesn’t ask for cash but calls on people to give something more precious — their time.
‘Serve the City’ Limerick has been operating for over a year connecting over 60 civic-minded volunteers with people who need a helping hand. Each month, individuals from across the city come together to meet new people while painting, cleaning, gardening or just giving of their time to improve the lives of the city’s vulnerable and marginalised.
“We work with local organisations to help where we can and from time to time requests come in which are then referred to us,” explains John Buckley co-founder of the Limerick group.
In this case, Milford Hospice asked the group’s assistance to restore a garden for one of their patients who is receiving home care.
The other project was referred to ‘Serve the City’ by a social care organisation for a man who is living in very shabby circumstances, so much so that exterminators recently removed almost one hundred mice from his house.
“This is our first time running two projects at the one time, so we are under a bit of additional pressure to ensure that we can reel in enough people on Saturday to get both jobs done so any extra hands would be massively appreciated,” Mr Buckley explained.
“Volunteering in this manner is such an amazing, humbling and rewarding experience; we run Serve events every month, its non-committal but the sense of accomplishment that runs over your body at the end of the serve day is just amazing.”
Meanwhile, as part of Culture Night, ‘Serve the City’ are launching their new cultural programme which connects musicians with at risk members of society.
“It is very similar to our existing ‘Serve the City’ operation in its structure; once a month local musicians are invited to bring moments of joy, inspiration or reflection through the art of music directly where people are living” says project co-ordinator Emma Langford.
“We will be visiting nursing homes, community centres, halfway houses, refugee centres – anywhere that people gather. A lot of these people don’t have access to live music so we feel like this is an incredibly worthwhile project. The response has been phenomenal.”
To celebrate the launch of the cultural programme, the group are hosting ‘Serve the City’s Big Busk’ on Thomas Street this Friday, September 18 from 7 until 9pm.
To register with the group as a volunteer email [email protected]