Tuesday 21 May 2019

Coffee morning at St Joseph's centre

Volunteer Michael Caulfield with Angela and her daughter Niamh
Volunteer Michael Caulfield with Angela and her daughter Niamh

Mary Fogarty

As National Volunteering Week approaches, a number of helpers at St Joseph's in Shankill are urging others to consider giving their time to the facility, which caters for people living with dementia.

Michael Caulfied started volunteering last year as a TrioBike facilitator. He brings the residents out and about so that they can feel the wind on their faces and meet people in the nearby park. Helping create these special moments means a lot to Michael.

'I recently retired and wanted to give something back to the community. I know that I'm making a difference when I see the smiles after a cycle around Shanganagh Park. Anyone who gets involved will get so much from giving back,' he said.

Harp Deighan of Studio HB also volunteers for St Joseph's, donating her talents as a designer.

'I am delighted that I can use my design skills to add to the wonderful work at Saint Joseph's,' said Harp. 'I am inspired by the unique work they are doing and I wanted to use my skills to help create better awareness for them.'

St Joseph's is putting a call out to people to join their team of volunteers to 'make moments matter' for the people in their care living with dementia. A special coffee morning will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 16, when visitors can learn about the different volunteering roles available at the Crinken Lane facility.

Ann Elliott has been volunteering at the centre since 2015.

'Upon retirement, I read about Saint Joseph's and their need for volunteers, now I volunteer at reception on Monday evenings. I merely give my time but I meet some great people and get a great deal of satisfaction from being of assistance to the visitors and carers at the centre.'

Hanna Wasiewicz came to Shankill as an au pair and decided to volunteer as one of Saint Joseph's 'buddys'. She meets with one of the residents once a week and helps out with a new tennis programme for people living in Saint Joseph's, which is run in Shankill Tennis Club.

While Hanna finds volunteering a rewarding experience, it has also given her a place to practice her English and fill up some of her free time.

'Volunteering here is one of the best experiences I've had in Ireland and it's a place where I feel so welcome,' she said.

Saint Joseph's is the only care home in Ireland solely dedicated to dementia care. The facility includes a day care centre, and is home to 60 people who each live in one of the six lodges with others who are at the same stage of dementia.

They are cared for together in a 'home-like' environment where the focus is on people's emotions and letting them know they really matter, despite their diagnosis.

'Volunteers at St Joseph's really make moments matter for the people living in our care,' said volunteer coordinator Nicola Yau. 'We want National Volunteering Week to be about thanking and recognising their contribution. No matter their reason for volunteering, every volunteer here really makes a difference in the lives of people in our care. We encourage everyone to use their talents or find new talents to help us in the work we do. The impact is priceless.'

To register interest in attending the coffee morning, contact Nicola on 01 2823000 or email

Bray People