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Volunteering for Barnardo’s NI

Barnardo’s Northern Ireland could not continue its work without volunteers. Volunteers work in a variety of ways either directly with children and young people, in shops or offices or by raising vital funds. We also have special opportunities for employee volunteering, young volunteers and university students.

Search for current volunteering opportunities in Northern Ireland:

Celebrating Volunteers

June 2018

Volunteers waving

Barnardo's NI recently held an event to celebrate the contribution made by all its 700 volunteers across children's services, retail and fundraising. The event was held at the Seamus Heaney Home Place in Ballaghy and each volunteer was presented with a certificate of recognition by Barnardo's NI Director Lynda Wilson. More photos from the day can be found on the Barnardo's NI facebook page.

Volunteering Profiles

July 2018

Volunteering to help primary school children with their English skills

Language made fun laughing
LNF certificate sml

Eleven year old Mohammed Almashhadani moved to Belfast with his family in March 2017 from their home city of Baghdad, Iraq. He was one of seven pupils who took part in a Barnardo’s NI 16 week Language Made Fun programme over the past academic year. It is run in conjunction with Ulster University Language and Linguistics course and aims to improve English language skills for primary school children where English is not their first language. Ulster University students volunteer to provide the language support.

Mohammed says it was really enjoyablet: “My favourite game we played was the card game Dobble. We also played Pictionary, Puzzle and Guess Who. It was a really good thing to do because I got to know English and it was fun.”

Mohammed was matched with Becky Conroy a second year Ulster University student who enrolled as a Barnardo’s volunteer and visited him at the family home once a week after school for intensive one-on-one language support.

Becky explains how it worked: “The first number of weeks were about observation, seeing what Mohammed needed to work on and what we needed to fix. Together with my tutor we devised what would work best and planned the sessions. I also recorded and transcribed every session so we could keep a record of how we were progressing.”

Mohammed’s dad Ahmad is delighted with the results: “It makes me very happy. When Mohammed came here he knew basic English and his lack of language and nervousness speaking meant it was hard for him to make friends and he found schoolwork difficult. Now he has so much confidence. Before he didn’t want to speak to anyone, now when we go out he wants to speak to the bus conductor and the cashiers. He is also reading in English and correcting me on my language and tenses.”

At the end of the programme all the children who took part were presented with a certificate and a book.

Becky says she also learnt a lot and her confidence grew: “Walking up to the family’s front door the first time was a bit nerve-wracking, but they were all so lovely and friendly. I have got to know them all really well and I enjoyed the experience very much. I have learnt so much in addition to my course, in terms of families who move here from other countries and about volunteering with Barnardo’s.”

Mohammed did well in his end of year exams and is looking forward to moving to his next school in September.

Dad Ahmad says Language Made Fun improved every aspect of Mohammed’s life: “For me it is a very effective and efficient programme. In the past I was always trying to help Mohammed with his homework but now he can do it on his own. He was also shy but now he has friends and we are just so happy.”

Language Made Fun is delivered in two primary schools in south Belfast through Barnardo’s Family Learning and Integration Project (FLIP) for minority and ethnic families. Its aim is to help parents  gain skills to support their children’s learning and aid with community integration.

Ulster University Language and Linguistic students volunteer with Barnardo’s to deliver the Language Made Fun programme and the joint project has been running for four years.

Retail volunteer Elizabeth Adair reflects on 25 years volunteering with Portadown, Thomas Street shop

June 2018

Betty with cert
Portadown shop volunteer

Elizabeth Adair from Portadown recently received an award from Barnardo’s NI in recognition of her 25th anniversary volunteering at the charity’s Thomas Street shop.

Elizabeth started volunteering after she took early retirement from the civil service: “Twenty five years ago the Barnardo’s Thomas Street shop was one of only two charity shops in the town. When I went to inquire about volunteering it turned out I knew the manageress from Markethill, she asked me to start immediately and I have been here ever since. When I started there were a few older ladies who were already volunteering and they were very good to me. We were and still are a great team.”

“I really enjoy volunteering in the shop. I just love interacting with the customers. People become regulars on certain days and I feel they’re my customers. It’s great to have that rapport. I have met so many people I would never have known otherwise.”

“Barnardo’s is a great charity to be associated with. It does so much for children, young people and families and we work so hard to bring the money in to support that. The charity has changed over the years and so have the shops, everything is much more professional, but I still really enjoy it and have no plans for retirement.”

“I would recommend volunteering to anyone thinking about doing it. You get to meet fantastic people, we always have a laugh and you know you are supporting a good cause.”

Director Barnardo’s NI Lynda Wilson said: “Volunteering for 25 years is a huge achievement and we really value the commitment and dedication given by Elizabeth. Volunteering supports the potential for good things to happen when people come together and bring their talents and gifts, and Elizabeth’s contribution to Barnardo’s and the wider community in Portadown, is a perfect example of that.”

There are lots of ways you can volunteer with Barnardo's NI including:

  • Retail Sales Assistant
  • Set up or join your local Friends of Group
  • Flag Day fundraiser
  • Bag packing
  • Volunteer in one of our services
  • Internships
  • Organizing an event

There are many reasons why people choose to get involved. Here are just a few:

  • To support Barnardo’s NI work as a charity
  • To do something inspiring and for a worthwhile cause
  • To meet new people
  • To learn new skills and improve their CVs

For further information about volunteering with Barnardo's NI contact:

Barnardo's NI Volunteering & Community Engagement Advisor Helen Connolly or Michelle Penney.

Tel: 028 9067 2366.

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