A safe place where people learn and grow,
that serves our needs and enriches our lives
in a supportive, fun and caring environment’
Ozanam House is a community resource centre run by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. It is located on the site of the original clothing and furniture warehouse in a building that has also been used by the Society for a variety of purposes for over 100 years. Since our opening in September 2002, we have continued to develop various programmes and projects aimed at addressing the issue of social exclusion as well as the many needs of the local community in Dublin’s north inner city. The centre now offers over 600 programme places to more than 500 people per week where our youngest member is 2 and our eldest is 96. We also engage 75 active volunteers who share their time and skills each week for the benefit of others.
Adult Education – Dress Making Programme
One of the programmes referred to above is our Dress Making class. The classes run for 10 weeks and each class is 2 hours in duration. The Dress Making class offers members of the community a chance to get out and learn new skills or practice old ones, a chance to develop their sense of self-worth and self-belief, gain self-confidence, a chance to gain some respite from daily life, a chance to relax and meet new friends in a new social environment, a chance to put themselves first in a world where they may give over so much of themselves to others.
A lot of our members can have had a negative experience of education in the past and it can be a big step for them to come back into any educational training. We, therefore, ensure we provide a very relaxed educational environment where their needs are at the centre of everything we do.
Overview of the volunteer role
To reach our full potential and to achieve our goals in the centre we are constantly seeking new volunteers to support our dressmaking tutor sharing their skills and knowledge with people undertaking Dress Making classes.
- Teach basics on how to use a sewing machine, curtain making, cushion covers, cross-stitch, tiebacks and others
- To support the tutor to prepare the class in advance
- To consult the service users when planning activities
- Deliver safe, fun and creative Dress Making classes, sensitive to the needs and abilities of participants
- Take class attendance on a daily basis
- Responsibility for overall set up and tidy up as well as maintaining a tidy press storage area
- Supervise the group with first priority in their safety
- Participate in the class and come to the aid of the participants
- Introduce new members to the group and ensure all members are included and engaged in the activity
- To attend meetings and training days if/when possible
- To follow the policies and procedures of Ozanam House which can be found in the induction pack or in the office
- Other general responsibilities in the context of the role as agreed with the tutor and co-ordinator
The Dress Making class runs each Thursday 10:30am to 12:30pm and Friday 11:00am – 1:00pm. The Dress Making volunteer should commit to one class per week plus extra time for the preparation of the class (the exact times and dates of working will be agreed between the volunteer and the programme coordinator). The volunteer should commit to a minimum period of nine months. This covers 3 terms with each term lasting 10 weeks. This offers consistency to a class level and offers the volunteer the opportunity to develop that class well over time.
Skills, Experience & Qualities Required
- Experience and skills in Dress-Making
- A keen interest in Dress-Making
- Experience in Group Instruction or teaching preferred but not essential
- Patience, resilience, tolerance and flexibility
- Ability to relate well to people and enjoy dealing with them
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Self-confidence and general ease with other people
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills – vital in a supportive role
- Good organizational skills and basic administration skills
- Intermediate level of English
- Experience with adult learners of mixed learning capacities is an advantage but not essential
- High motivation and engagement to be a volunteer over a longer period of time
- Commitment to the ethos of volunteering and community-based initiative
Training & Induction
- The volunteer will receive an induction/information night in the centre prior to his/her first inset and will get a general information pack to become familiar with the centre and our procedures
- The volunteer will have an initial meeting with the co-ordinator to receive a role-specific induction and to agree a timetable and schedule of duties in line with the volunteer role description
- Ongoing individual training programmes will be provided if necessary
Support & Supervision
The coordinator will be responsible for the supervision of the volunteer. Volunteers will meet with their co-ordinator either in one-to-one meetings or in larger group meetings to discuss ongoing progress and any issues arising.
General volunteer meetings, for all volunteers, will take place twice a year, in May and November.
- Personal and professional development
- Sharing knowledge that can help others enrich their lives
- To be part of a progressive team supporting others to improve their lives
- Opportunity to work in and learn about a community resource centre
- Opportunity to build up valuable work experience
- Tea and coffee will be provided for all volunteers