Page 1





On behalf of our volunteers, partners, supporters and those whom we serve, thank you for engaging with Serve the City (STC) Ireland. Active in Dublin since 2006 and Galway since 2011, we were especially excited to see the launch of STC Cork in early 2017. Looking back over 11 years of mobilising volunteers and serving marginalised and vulnerable people in practical ways, I am struck by how much we have developed and the fact that we are still 100% volunteer-led and run. Our success is thanks to the volunteers and leaders who serve in such a passionate and committed way. 2017 saw STC Dublin launching two new projects with the first focusing on refugees and asylum seekers living in the direct provision system and the second, a befriending project supporting people with intellectual challenges. These two new projects came about from surveying our volunteer base in 2016. While our practical/Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects still provide easy-entry volunteering opportunities, these two new project types are more complex, but very rewarding for volunteers and those we seek to support. Leadership development was a priority during 2017 and remains so, with a dedicated volunteer coordinator to enhance progression of general volunteers into project leader and coordinator roles. This progression helps ensure STC remains sustainable and impactful. These volunteers gain new life experiences, marketable skills and in some cases new job opportunities along the way. SERVE THE CITY IRELAND

We are ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things, together. To all our volunteers, clients, partners and supporters, thanks for a great 2017 and I look forward to the year ahead.

2nd Floor 5-9 Terenure Place Terenure Village Dublin 6W

Alan McElwee,

Director/Trustee Serve the City Ireland CLG

Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017





Active in Dublin, Cork and Galway, Serve the City Ireland mobilises volunteers to serve marginalised and vulnerable people including seniors, single parents, disadvantaged families, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, people at risk of homelessness, refugees and asylum seekers.

STC Ireland is guided by core values practiced by STC organisations worldwide and by our local partners and volunteers. Humility, compassion, respect, courage, love and hope drive our intentions and actions. These values underpin everything we do; they guide our projects, board meetings, fundraising events, social meet-ups, trainings, and all discussions and interactions among volunteers, civic partners, community members and people we serve.

The Vision of STC Ireland is to see the lives of individuals and communities transformed through the support of committed and caring volunteers. We believe that showing kindness through volunteering has the power to transform individual lives and whole communities. Towards this end, STC Ireland envisions mobilising volunteers and expanding the movement throughout Ireland.

STC Ireland’s mission is to mobilise volunteers and serve marginalised and vulnerable people in Dublin and other metropolitan areas through practical support and social inclusion projects. We aim to promote volunteerism by making it easy to do, effective and meaningful.

STC Ireland is 100% volunteer-led and run – we operate without any paid staff. We seek to serve – care for – transform the lives of both volunteers and those whom we serve. Those whom we serve in the community receive both practical and social benefits from our volunteer projects. Community members who get help with practical projects at home benefit from improved living conditions. Through practical support, tours and befriending, volunteers help participants increase their knowledge of local resources and develop new relationships, leading to support networks critical to their social inclusion. The positive social interaction with volunteers results in a reduced sense of isolation and an increased sense of optimism and well-being. Sometimes, people served by STC Ireland become volunteers themselves. Fulfilling the promise of volunteerism, they give back to the community and make it stronger through practical service and engagement.


of volunteers agree or strongly agree that volunteer work with STC Ireland is meaningful.


would recommend STC Dublin as a good place to volunteer.


stated that the process of becoming a volunteer was easy.

Information taken from March 2018 Volunteer Survey 2


Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017

WHAT WE DO Using an asset-based community development approach, STC Ireland engages community members, local authorities, social workers, churches, business colleges, corporations and civic organisations to identify and further develop existing community resources in order to promote more connected, empowered and viable communities. As such, volunteers become the most powerful asset in transforming local communities and promoting a caring and inclusive society. STC Ireland focuses on enriching the lives of both volunteers and those we serve including the elderly, single parents, people with a chronic illness, mental or physical challenges, refugees and asylum seekers, homeless individuals and anyone “left behind” or isolated in the community. Volunteering at STC Ireland is easy, accessible and meaningful. Volunteers serve by befriending, leading cultural tours, fundraising and providing practical support such as painting, gardening and de-cluttering. Online registration is achieved in minutes. As a result, STC Ireland benefits from a committed volunteer core, with the majority of volunteers serving over a period of years. In 2017, STC Ireland collaborated with Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Galway City Council, Hearth and Mind, Focus Ireland, Alone, Dublin City Volunteer Centre, Galway Volunteer Centre, Cork Volunteer Centre, SEDA College, Reception and Integration Agency, Health Service Executive, Volounteer Ireland, Tidy Towns Initiative, Right of Place Second Chance and Pieta House.

PROJECTS Practical DIY STC Ireland volunteers meet weekly to perform Do-it-Yourself (DIY) home and garden improvements for those who need assistance. Projects include cleaning, painting, repairs and planting. In 2017, STC volunteers conducted 80 DIY projects. This effort represented 3,020 volunteer hours.

Refugee and Asylum-Seekers Support In April 2017, an STC volunteer initiated Tour the City (TTC), a social inclusion project focused on at asylum seekers and refugees living in direct provision centres. Through TTC, local volunteers organise and facilitate tours of cultural institutions in Dublin. TTC educates the guests about the city and Ireland and provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange. During its first year of implementation, 30 volunteers and 300 refugees visited cultural institutions together and 261 volunteer service hours were fulfilled. Tours to date have visited the Irish Famine Memorial, GPO, St Stephen’s Green Park, National Museum, The Natural History Museum, Chester Beatty Library, Croke Park, National Botanic Gardens and Phoenix Park. While the tours explore Irish culture, history and Dublin landmarks, they often prove personally relevant for participants. For example, one refugee fleeing war and famine in the Middle East readily related to the Irish famine.

Befriending Targeting people with a reduced capacity to care for themselves, STC volunteers visit clients who are socially isolated, including the elderly and people with disabilities. During fortnightly home visits, volunteers and clients typically share a meal, enjoy conversation, play cards, go grocery shopping and run errands. In 2017, six volunteers engaged with seven people through befriending, providing over 164 service hours.

I feel like part of their family…volunteering is like a regular dose of good vibe that boosts me through another month. Volunteering on Befriending is for sure a great craic for all of us.” Leo, Volunteer Leader

Galway Community Support In addition to DIY and befriending projects, STC Galway works closely with local charities to mobilise volunteers for community events such as graffiti and litter removal and the annual Pieta House Darkness Into Light walk. In 2017, 20 volunteers provided 128 service hours supporting Pieta House Darkness Into Light.

One client shared with us how an STC cleanup helped to lift her depression. With a good clean and a chat over a cuppa tea, we were able to help bring hope! The exciting part was seeing her working along side the volunteers. As we were leaving she shared, with happy tears, how much she appreciated her new friends and the help they gave her in lifting the heaviness away.” Tim, Galway Project Leader

Volunteering with Serve the City Galway has given me way more back than I ever expected. I like the caption that I saw on STC’s Facebook page No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. I find that volunteering does wonders for my mental health. It feels good to give back something. The team spirit is infectious.” Louise, Galway Volunteer


Volunteers and project type for 2017 for STC Ireland




208 STC




Practical DIY

Refugees & Asylum Seekers 4


Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017

2017 HIGHLIGHTS Shem Romanowski, a volunteer leader with STC Ireland, was awarded Volunteer of the Year in the Social Inclusion Category by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

While quantifying outputs, outcomes and impact is critical to effective community development and social change, such data is not easy to quantify, especially without staff or funding for program evaluation. Nevertheless, the increasing numbers of committed volunteers, along with personal feedback from volunteers and clients illustrate the positive impact STC has with relation to improved well-being and social inclusion.

In Dublin, STC will launch Community Meals, a second initiative promoting social integration with refugees and asylum seekers. Through Community Meals, people in direct provision will host monthly meals at a Dublin-based restaurant. Refugees will have the opportunity to plan, prepare and enjoy foods from their native cultures with other direct provision residents and STC volunteers. STC Cork will plan and oversee Service Weeks for volunteers traveling from all over Ireland and the US, and STC Galway will continue to develop its relationship with refugees and asylum seekers to better support those living in direct provision there.


Our vision beyond 2018 is to expand to Waterford and Limerick, mobilising volunteers and serving people in need in Ireland’s five most populated areas. Towards that end, STC Ireland will undertake a strategic planning process that will result in a multi-year plan for geographical expansion and project development. Essential to the planning process will be an assessment of the viability of sustaining STC Ireland as an organisation wholly operated by volunteers.



Ninety-two percent of volunteers surveyed recently agree or strongly agree that volunteer work with STC Ireland is meaningful. Volunteers report satisfaction in becoming more involved in the community, developing a more active lifestyle, reducing isolation, developing new job-related skills, maintaining work skills, getting into paid employment and improving English. Volunteers consistently report that it is satisfying to help others and make a difference. Volunteers, and the values they share, are key to STC’s impact in the community. In 2017, Alan McElwee and STC Ireland, were recognised by the Dun Laoghaire district of The Rotary Club for contributing time, energy and passion to sustainable, long-term projects.

Hopes and plans for 2018 and beyond In October 2018, STC Ireland will host the Serve the City International Forum in Dublin. Over 100 leaders from volunteer organisations in the EU, USA and Far East will participate in the three-day training and development event to share best practices, exchange ideas and innovate.


In 2017, 208 people volunteered with STC Ireland, providing 4,179 hours of service to 352 vulnerable and marginalised people. Each year, we mobilise more volunteers, serve more people and meet more needs. In the past five years alone, annual volunteer hours have increased nearly ten-fold, from 480 to 4,179.


Organisational Structure STC Ireland arose out of a friendship between Alan McElwee, Trustee, and Carlton Deal, founder of STC International, a global non-governmental organisation and movement that was started in Brussels, Belgium in 2005. STC Ireland is one of over 100 affiliated organisations mobilising volunteers to show kindness in practical ways to people in need across the globe. While STC Ireland is committed to the movement and its core values, STC Ireland is an independent organisation. STC Ireland is a Company Limited by Guarantee. CHY 19323 Registered Charity No.: 20075668. A board of six trustees provides overall governance to its projects and meets every two months. STC Ireland has no paid staff and is completely volunteer-led. City and Project Leaders provide management, leadership development and volunteer coordination locally for each project. STC Ireland is a member of The Wheel and the Public Participation Networks.

Funders STC is grateful for the generosity of donors. In 2017, STC Ireland received a total of € 17,000 from Electric Aid, IPB Insurance, IBM, Google, Salesforce, 24/7 Prayer Ireland, Hill’s Fine Art and Crafts Materials, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the Community Foundation of Ireland.


Annual volunteer hours 6


Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017


are often the best way to communicate STC’s impact:

“Serve the City tries to fight for humanity” (DJ, Cork)

Shem, a volunteer.

“(STC Volunteers) have brought a positive attitude and hope to my life and everybody involved. I say thumbs up Tour the City!” Daria

Maruf, an asylum seeker from

There is a long list of benefits that I could mention from being involved in STC’s Tour the City. Best is to divide them into three groups: the soft skills that I have developed (public speaking, empathy, being able to engage better with strangers, being able to negotiate, leadership skills, planning, team building and project management); the hard skills that I have learnt (basic budgeting and forecasting, accounting, software operations); the last and probably the most important benefit is to be able to pass on my own knowledge, passion and courage onto other volunteers, so people can share, multiply this passion, spread the love and learn a few useful day-to-day skills that help to get by.”

Bangladesh, found STC in 2016. Since then, he has become the Social Inclusion Coordinator for STC’s Refugee and AsylumSeeker Project and has been awarded a four-year scholarship to study science at UCD.

When I got to Ireland, I felt lost, lonely, down, fed-up, miserable with no purpose to live anymore. Then l got involved with Serve the City. We gardened and painted almost every Saturday. Few months later, STC started the Irish cultural tours and I have attended almost all of them... they give us a great perspective of the significance of the historical places we visited…”

“STC Tours… became my source of strength immediately. Most importantly it made me interact with so many people from different societies and somehow brought comfort around me by blending me into the society.”

Mary, a Galway volunteer, expresses what so many other DIY volunteers experience: What STC means to me over the past two years is sharing skills and abilities in order to help others and our city feel and look better. Very worthwhile for me personally as I have gotten to meet fantastic people…“

Trustees • Cormac Shaw Chair • Paul Kerr Company Secretary • Edwina Dewart

Alejandro’s life is better because of the day he participated on a tour with STC volunteers. Supported by other STC volunteers and motivated by serving, Alejandro shortly became a group leader and tour organiser. That was the day my life changed for the better. It was like I was activated. You could not stop me from getting involved and showing my true ability. I can proudly say that it was one of the best decisions I have made so far here in Ireland, to be a part of Serve the City. I have helped others like me to get involved and be a part of this amazing, life-changing experience. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this great Organisation call Serve the City.”

• Ronan Coffey


• Dick Bourke • Alan McElwee

Who also serves as Chair of STC International.



2nd Floor 5-9 Terenure Place Terenure Village Dublin 6W

Our thanks to The Community Foundation of Ireland for funding the publication of this annual report. 8

Trustees travelling to Galway for meeting

Profile for mcelweealan1

Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017  

Serve the City Ireland Annual Report 2017