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The Beating Heart of Galway 2020

05.12.2019

 

On International Volunteer Day, we at Galway 2020 are celebrating the fabulous team of volunteers that form the beating heart of our organisation.

 

Our Wave Makers are a force for change in Galway, working to make events run smoothly and seamlessly.

International Volunteer Day (5 December) is an annual day of appreciation for volunteers everywhere. This year’s theme of “inclusion” couldn’t be more relevant for our Wave Makers who together account for 53 different nationalities. The group reflects the diversity that makes Galway the exciting place that it is. Embracing this cultural richness, they have set themselves the goal of learning three words in a new language by the end of 2020.

Kindly supported by medical device company Medtronic, the Galway 2020 volunteer programme is designed to represent Galway’s many communities. Our Wave Makers can personalise their schedule to fit with their commitments, availability and interests. This flexible relationship broadens the possibility of participation. Galway 2020 has also partnered with care service providers such as Horizon (Brothers of Charity) and RehabCare to extend the welcome to people with disabilities and mental health difficulties.

 

“The idea of a ‘Meitheal’, a group of people coming together to help each other out has long existed in Ireland. We were hugely grateful to the cheerful, obliging and competent Wave Makers whose contribution to our project was key to its success.”

What do Wave Makers get in return for their invaluable work? The programme is structured as an exchange, with opportunities to receive training to suit the volunteer’s interests and career path. Already, the group has undergone core training with the Galway 2020 team, members of the Gardaí, an event controller and Galway Volunteer Centre. Led by Galway Community Circus and musician Donal McConnon, the latest workshop aimed to inspire creativity and confidence in working with the public. Wave Makers can also avail of free guided city tours facilitated by Galway Tour Guides Association.

Preparation, however important, is nothing without practice. Wave Makers have thrown themselves into cultural life in 2019. You may have noticed them at the spectacular Macnas Halloween parade, confidently supervising a crowd of thousands. Event Controller Eamonn Fox says, “The Supervisors and Volunteers were a great addition to the management of the parade and it could not have happened without them.”

Wave Makers recently helped make the Junior Film Fleadh a success, and supported artists and organisers at the lively Bad Weather Play Day by Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann. Organiser Ríonach Ní Néill says, “We were delighted with the support we received from the Wave Makers. They gave a friendly welcome to the participants, provided information and guidance on our activities, and also assisted our workshop facilitators. They had a genuine interest in the project and our audience, and we’re looking forward to working with  them again at our next events.”

Wave Makers embody the concept of ‘Meitheal’ that informs the year-long Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme. As Maire Collins of Úlla Buaille puts it, “The idea of a ‘Meitheal’, a group of people coming together to help each other out has long existed in Ireland. We were hugely grateful to the cheerful, obliging and competent Wave Makers whose contribution to our project was key to its success.”

The adventures that await in 2020 would simply not be possible without the support of our Wave Makers. On this important day, we want to express a sincere and heartfelt thank you.

Will you be a Wave Maker?


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