Tag Archives: volunteers

TSI Lauches New Charity Website

Argyll & Bute charities and community groups will now be able to publicise their volunteering opportunities to a much wider audience, thanks to a new website, volunteerargyllandbute.org.

Launched this week by the Third Sector Interface (TSI). The website will act as a portal where organisations can advertise their volunteering opportunities and volunteers can access the most up to date opportunities in both their local area and across Argyll & Bute. The website was originally due to launch at the end of April, but due to the challenges and complexities of the recent pandemic and a desperate need for more volunteers across the county, it was repurposed for the emergency and community response.

volunteerargyllandbute had a fantastic response from volunteers wanting to register with the site seeing around 1000 people signing up in the first few weeks after launch. Samantha Stubbs, Strategic Development Manager for the TSI told us,

“As lockdown measures relax, many of the volunteers have asked to stay registered on the system, so there is no better time for voluntary and community organisations to tap into that reservoir of goodwill and recruit the volunteers they need in their communities.”

She went on to say,

“volunteerargyllandbute is incredibly easy to use and is backed up with telephone assistance from us”. “For charities, it provides not only a jobs-board to advertise volunteering opportunities, but also a comprehensive volunteer management system to help them to schedule volunteer support, log volunteering hours, communicate with volunteers and securely manage volunteer data including PVG checks and training logs.”

A Third Sector Organisation which tested the system being used said,

“The system has provided my organisation with a convenient platform to recruit volunteers for events. It also provides a great medium for monitoring our volunteers and rewarding them for their efforts. We can post information about training courses too, meaning that our volunteers can also use it as a portal to find upskilling opportunities. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to gain and keep volunteers, I would recommend this system – it will make your life so much easier.” Another organisation added, “Overall I would recommend this system to any volunteer managers who want to keep everything in one place, allowing you to have a log of voluntary hours and help you as a manager to become more efficient and effective in your role.”

If any charities or organisations would like to register a volunteering opportunity then they can do so by visiting volunteerargyllandbute.org

if they need any help with using the system, they can get that by phoning the TSI’s third sector support line on 0300 303 4141.

Fire Chief Visit to Tiree Promises Results

firemen

Due to the fundamental necessity of a Firefighting service on Tiree, issue 443 carried a front page story of our quietly heroic volunteers.

During the course of the interview it became apparent that all was far from well in terms of facilities, travel and training. Enquiries as to funding , and keeping the Tiree firefighters’ situation on the agenda of the relevant councillors and firefighting management , eventually led to a long overdue visit to Tiree on 25th August by the Chief Fire Officer Brian Sweeney for Strathclyde Fire & Rescue, the Argyll & Bute Commander Paul Connelly, the Convener and two Vice- Conveners of the Board as well as, amongst others, Councillor Donald MacDonald.

“The Chief Officer has given his commitment to upgrade the current site”

The visit was an excellent opportunity for the fire-fighters to air their concerns about a number of issues as well as clearly expressing their views on the need to improve the current facilities on Tiree.
The Chief Officer took note of the suggestions made as did the Board members who were fully supportive. Paul Connelly told An Tirisdeach “The Chief Officer has given his commitment to upgrade the current site if at all possible to include an extension that can be used to house toilet, shower and training facilities.”.

A commitment to explore and develop these ideas further was given with a view to putting something in place during the course of next financial year.

Tiree’s Margaret Worsley, Deputy Crew Commander was very positive about the visit and is optimistic that the guarantees they were given will bear fruit next year.

Lunch Club Closes, Then Opens Again!!

sandwichLunch club were dismayed to be informed that funding by Argyll/Bute Social Work Department was being withdrawn. The users and staff were given only one week’s notice and the Community Workshop was also informed that funding was being withdrawn. This came as a surprise to members as Social Work have no financial input!
The Lunch Club provides a vital service for the health and well being of the older population of Tiree not only offering social contact but support and access to other services. In the autumn people are offered not only a meal but a flu vaccination as well!! The manner in which the closure of this vital service has been conducted by Social Work has angered and dismayed the island population. One week’s notice has left very little opportunity to try to organise an alternative. For such a service to be discontinued thereby detrimentally affecting peoples lives it would have been courteous for a member of Social Work management to sit down with members of lunch club and explain the rationale behind this decision.
A meeting was held which was very well attended and it was decided that such a vital service should be continued and a plan of action was formulated. A letter will be sent to all our island representatives including the Head of Social Work protesting at their handling of this matter. Lunch Club will continue on a Monday and Friday offering tea, coffee soup and sandwiches and will be manned by volunteers. At the meeting we were able to identify people who would assist with transport and food but more volunteers are needed. So if you can help with transport , a pot of soup or just a little time we would love to hear from you. Alternatively you could drop into the Lunch Club and meet the present volunteers. Significantly everyone is now welcome so come along and join us. There will a small charge for refreshments but the important thing is that we keep going !!! Any enquiries regarding transport requirements or volunteering please contact the Lunch Club at the Resource Centre.

Tiree’s Voluntary Firefighters – Our Quiet Heroes

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Our proud firefighters

Recently a close friend’s chimney caught fire, and, unable to deal with it herself, she called 999. Within minutes a fire fighter was at her home, closely followed by more members of the team. Quickly assessing the situation, they pumped water up the chimney extinguishing the flames. They followed this procedure with a check on the upstairs walls for heat. Satisfied that all was well our Voluntary Firefighters left the scene. My friend was very relieved that all had gone well and that her children were safe. She was also impressed by the skillful and professional way the volunteers dealt with the situation.

“They were very professional. I felt safe and knew that the situation was in good hands”she said.

Crucial Role

This incident prompted this article. Not just to sing the praises of those committed and dedicated people who work on our behalf, but also to take the opportunity to remind us all of the crucial role they have within our community.

An Tirisdeach spoke to Stuart MacLean, Group Commander of Argyll & Bute Firefighters.

“The trainees deserve to get the best and right training. This means, the service we provide is the best we can achieve for the members of the local communities that we serve” he said.

This excellent training was very much in evidence the evening of my friend’s chimney fire.

Skillful and Professional.

At present, our volunteers are made up of seven men and two women. Three new male recruits are currently undergoing training. New recruits have to attend two weekend training courses in Oban to learn skills in hose running, pump and ladder work. Another two weekends are required for Breathing Apparatus training. Also, a trainer comes from the mainland six times a year, training is also supplemented by superior officers several times a year. On top of all that, ‘drill night’ is every Wednesday. All volunteers who commit themselves to the Unit know they must be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice. Margaret Worsley, who is currently the longest serving volunteer (14years) and second in command said

“ I could never have done this job without the wonderful support of my family and friends.”

Family Fire Plan

An Tirisdeach asked Crew Commander Macintosh’s advice about staying safe at home.

Smoke alarms were very important and should be at top and bottom of stairs and in every child’s bedroom. Overloading socket’s is asking for trouble, as is smoking in bed. Candles, very much in vogue for some years now, are in fact one of the most common reasons for domestic fires. They should never be placed on plastic or other flammable surfaces, for example T.V.s and stereos. In the event of a fire, it is recommended that you have a family fire plan already in place, which includes a rendezvous point outside. This helps the firefighters, as their lives have been put at risk in the past looking for people in a house when they have already left the building.

Dealing with danger

Firefighters not only respond to domestic fires, but assist the ambulance service and medical team as part of the Emergency Services when the situation requires their presence, this includes road accidents. Work may involve carrying casualties from inaccessible locations to the ambulance. Obviously, physical fitness is a prerequisite for the job, but psychological robustness must also be necessary, as sometimes people are seriously injured, and on occasion there are fatalities.

One volunteer described the team spirit as “fantastic”, another said “it’s like another family.” Part of the reason for this is these people have to deal with danger, the unexpected, frightened and sometimes traumatised people. Supporting one another must be part of the firefighting experience.

Crew Commander Macintosh recalled one of the worst fire’s he attended was at Milton harbour in 2004 when five boats and the pier were on fire. Four boats were completely lost. This incident lasted twelve intense hours and involved Fire Investigators coming out to investigate the cause. Thankfully, there was no fatalities.

Dedication and Commitment

In the course of writing this article An Tirisdeach has been deeply impressed by the dedication and commitment of the Tiree firefighting volunteers. Therefore, it seems inappropriate that the basic facilities they require to make their training lives easier (e.g. Toilets & showers) have not been forthcoming in any budgetary allowance for Tiree.

An Tirisdeach has been in touch with Councillor Donald MacDonald who is our Argylle & Bute representative who sits on the joint Strathclyde/Argyll & Bute Board to ask if he is putting forward Tiree’s case for, what one might call, basic facilities. By next issue one is hoping he will inform us of any progress made on their behalf.

Basic Facilities

Volunteer fire fighters generally join the service out of a desire to serve their community. Anyone reading this who thinks they could be a committed member of our firefighting team should contact Crew Commander Macintosh on 01879-220-829. The same number applies if you need to have a fire safety check. An Tirisdeach would also like to interview members of Tiree’s Voluntary Ambulance service for a future issue. Like our firefighters, they are an indispensable emergency service.