Big thank you from

Jenny Munro talks to Michele Lamont

Michele Lamont MICHELE Lamont, 37, is a Co-ordinator at Lisburn Volunteer Centre (LVC).

After she completed her art studies she spent a year travelling around America, Canada and Europe. On her return she worked as a volunteer and liked it so much that she joined an ACE work training programme and has since enjoyed a successful career in the volunteer sector.

As a busy mum with two small children she now job shares with Annette Hewitt and works three days a week.

LVC is based in Bachelors Walk and has. been active since February 2004 during which time it has provided a link between those in the Lisburn City Council area who wish to volunteer and the organisations and community groups who need voluntary helpers.

On the days that I work I wake up at 6am, organise myself and then get my daughter aged two and a half and my son who is 17 months, ready to go to nursery. I moved from Dromore last year to Castledawson to live closer to my extended family. This means I have a rather long commute to Lisburn.

When I arrive at the office I check emails and prioritise the jobs to be done that particular day. I could be sorting out volunteer interview appointments, meeting up with local community groups and organisations who need volunteers or working on the general running of the centre. LVC believes the ethos of volunteering can be encompassed in thee words - learning, sharing and caring. Volunteering is a two way relationship. People give their time to something they enjoy doing and both they and their community benefit as a result.

Myself and Annette are constantly working with organisations/community groups to develop new and interesting volunteering opportunities and we try to encourage all volunteer involving organisations throughout the area to get in touch and register their volunteer opportunities.

We also encourage anyone who has an hour to spare to give us a call and discuss the many different ways they could receive the most benefit and enjoyment from volunteering during their free time. When I meet prospective volunteers I tell them how they cart learn new skills such as office administration or advice/information provision. Our volunteers can also receive training related to their volunteer roles and can share their skills by teaching/helping others, this could include youth/children's groups, arts, craft, computer or DIY skills.

Many volunteers choose to devote their time to caring for others within the community including people who are disadvantaged, disabled or elderly There are also a great many people in the Lisburn area who give up their free time to the care of sick or injured animals.

No matter which role a volunteer chooses to take up the simple fact is that they will be making a huge contribution to their community and hopefully having fun and making new friends at the same time.

It is part of my job to offer advice and guidance to volunteers involving organisations with regards to policies, insurance, the protection of children and vulnerable adults and training for both staff and volunteers.

As well as this we also administrate the Community Volunteering Scheme Small Grants Programme which can provide volunteer involving organisations with sums up to �1,000 for volunteer expenses and running costs.

I also have to update our database with any new names of volunteers and organisations and ensure quality of access to volunteer opportunities and equality of treatment.

As well as making sure our registered Volunteers receive out of pocket expenses, support and supervision we organise a named contact person for them throughout the duration of their volunteering.

I try to finish up around 4.30pm to enable me to collect the children from the nursery before 6pm. Then I head home, give the children their dinner, spend time with them and then put them to bed around 7.30pm.

Once the children are sleeping my husband and I get a chance to relax and have our dinner together. In the evenings I like to get things ready for the next day and maybe watch some television. Most nights I am normally in bed by 10.30pm.

 If you are interested in finding out more about Lisburn Volunteer Centre call 9266 8740 or email

Ulster Star