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‘Humble Heros’ Across Northern Ireland Celebrated During Volunteers’ Week

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‘Humble Heros’ Across Northern Ireland Celebrated During Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers Week purple starThe voice for volunteering in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Now, has kicked off a week-long celebration of volunteers and the huge impact they have in local communities.

Wee Nuls Ruth Mulholland and Jane Gribbin, Volunteer NowThroughout the 40th Volunteers’ Week (3rd – 9th June), dozens of celebratory events and activities are taking place across Northern Ireland, bringing people who generously give their time for others into the spotlight, for well deserved recognition.  To start the festivities, a special celebratory piece of street art has been unveiled in Belfast’s Lower Garfield Street, created by artist Wee Nuls to express gratitude to volunteers.

Denise Hayward, CEO of Volunteer Now said:

“Volunteers are the humble heroes of our communities, who give their time to help other people, charities, community groups and social organisations. They change lives, without seeking out thanks, reward or remuneration. There simply isn’t enough we can do to thank them, but this focus week of celebration and gratitude goes some way to recognising their amazing efforts.”

Someone who has dedicated their life to volunteering is Paddy Duffy from Bessbrook in Newry.  A known name in his local community, Paddy has been volunteering for over 50 years.

“I’m coming 74 and am delighted to have volunteered most of my adult life,” Paddy said. “I lost my father at a very young age. Growing up without him meant I felt a bit lost at times and what turned things around was joining the local youth club. The leader there was a brilliant man and became a great mentor. I got involved in youth leadership for many years then began working with young people with a learning disability. I’m particularly proud of my involvement with the Newry Gateway Club, which has been providing social inclusion for five decades now. Through volunteering, I’ve had incredible experiences, from being involved with the Special Olympics to organising countless fundraising events for different causes.

“My message would be – give volunteering a go. Through organisations like Volunteer Now, you can volunteer in a way that best suits you and it will open your mind. Young people might even be inspired to choose their career through volunteering.   In my experience, volunteering will always help you feel better too. By showing up, you’re helping an organisation exist and helping people who need a boost – which feels great. You are part of something bigger when you volunteer. For an hour or two, all your own thoughts and worries are set aside. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Volunteer Now hopes that by sharing the stories of people like Paddy, more people will feel inspired to volunteer.

“Volunteers’ Week will give a big thank you to the amazing people amongst us like Paddy, whilst also shining a light on how enriching being a volunteer can be,” Denise Hayward adds.

“There is a huge need for more volunteers in Northern Ireland and, in today’s fast-paced world, perhaps the best way we can reset, recharge and reward ourselves, is by giving some of our time to help others,” Denise Hayward added.

To find out more about Volunteers’ Week and how to get involved, visit and to discover local volunteering opportunities, visit

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