National Blind Council of Ireland: Connection Network Volunteers

NCBI Connection Network

NCBI volunteers help to improve the level of independence and quality of life of those who are living with sight loss. Volunteers play an important role in NCBI’s work. We have a variety of volunteer roles to choose from. Below is an outline and information relating to NCBI’s Connection Network.

There are two roles that make up the Connection Network:

  • Connection Network - Client Engagement and
  • Connection Network – Befriending

Both of these roles aim to engage NCBI service users through a phone call service. The service offers an opportunity to increase the social network of our service users, reduce loneliness, and increase a sense of community among people with sight loss and NCBI.

Connection Network - Client Engagement Role

Connection Network – Client Engagement aims to engage with our service users of the past who have not had input from NCBI for some time. We would like to reach out to these people to check-in with them, inform them of NCBI’s latest services, confirm their contact details, and to offer them the opportunity to re-engage with us should they wish to do so.

Through a telephone call we will be able to ensure that people with sight loss are enabled to engage with a service that is there for them, and as the national sight loss agency we hope to reach as many people with sight loss as possible across Ireland to ensure services for all. The service also offers an opportunity to increase the social network of our service users, reduce loneliness, and increase a sense of community among people with sight loss and NCBI.

Volunteers on Connection Network – Client Engagement will be required to make telephone calls to a list of service users who have engaged with NCBI in the past but have not had input from us in some time. Volunteers will be given a list of service users to contact via a once off phone call.

The role is outlined below:

  • To commit to at least 2 hours per week, for a minimum of 1 year
  • To be mindful of the general wellbeing of the person with sight loss, and to provide a positive experience during the call
  • To follow the protocols for phone calls
  • To adhere to confidentiality
  • To attend training and adhere to the training guidelines
  • To attend peer review sessions as organised by the volunteer coordinator
  • Work as a member of a team with staff and other volunteers and participate in team meetings when required
  • To report to their specified volunteer coordinator if there are concerns for the person’s health, safety or welfare

Connection Network – Befriending Role

NCBI’s Connection Network – Befriending service is a free, confidential and informative service for our service users who are in need of social contact through a weekly telephone call. During the first Covid-19 lockdown, NCBI service users were clear in their message; isolation, loneliness and emotional support were areas that need attention. NCBI is now focused on ensuring we continue to provide a ‘Reach Out’ service in a post Covid-19 Ireland.

Volunteers will be given a list of up to a maximum of 10 service users to make weekly friendly phone calls to for the duration of their time in this role. Volunteers will log all calls on online form. Upon logging calls, NCBI clerical officers will transfer this data to service user’s files on our database as needed.

The role is outlined below:

  • To be mindful of the general wellbeing of the person with sight loss, and to provide a positive experience during the call
  • To attend training and adhere to the training guidelines
  • To attend peer review sessions as organised by the volunteer coordinator
  • To report to the specified volunteer coordinator if there are concerns for the person’s health, safety or welfare
  • Work as a member of a team with staff and other volunteers and participate in team meetings when required
  • To follow the protocols for phone calls
  • To adhere to confidentiality

Volunteer Skills, Requirements & Attributes

  • To have a genuine interest in Person with Vision Loss
  • To be respectful and committed to the values and aims of NCBI
  • A caring, understanding, and friendly attitude
  • To be patient, reliable and have good listening and communication skills
  • To be non-judgmental and respect the confidentiality of the Service User / person and of all records that you encounter.

What happens when a potential volunteer wants to register their interest?

  1. You will receive an email of thanks and be set up on our database
  2. You will receive a follow up email with an application form and paperwork required.
  3. You will be contacted, and an interview will be arranged.
  4. If required you will be asked to begin the Garda Vetting process
  5. You will be asked to complete our training module.
  6. Once all the above steps are completed, you will be through the recruitment process and ready to go as an NCBI volunteer.

Process of beginning a volunteering role

  1. Volunteer makes expression of interest (and please send to paul.derrig@ncbi.ie or megan.connolly@ncbi.ie). You will then be placed on an application list until next available round of recruitment.
  2. 1 to 1 interview will be held by NCBI staff – this may be in person, by video call or by phone call.
  3. Volunteer will be sent application form and paperwork to begin Garda vetting process. Volunteer application form and Garda vetting form should be completed as soon as possible. This must be accompanied by copies of two forms of identification (one photographic, one proof of address). This is a compulsory requirement for the Garda vetting application.
  4. Volunteer will be invited to attend training session by group video call, or will be sent a training video to complete (volunteer may be asked to complete a short survey after training video complete).
  5. Volunteer agreement and data processing form signed.
  6. References checked.
  7. Garda vetting application completed with Bureau. Once all paperwork is completed, you will be informed that you are ready to begin your role.
  8. Volunteer provided with log in details for BlueFace App to carry out calls. Volunteer given contact details of service users to begin their role.
Attachment Size
Expression of Interest Form 21.89 KB

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
16th Nov, 2021
Region
Various Locations
Expiry Date
16th Jan, 2022