We at Making Connections are inspired by a simple but powerful idea: that people living within a community have a natural gift for friendship and a desire to help those around them. In order to promote this culture of connection, we arrange for volunteers to visit and get to know older member of the community who live independently. Strong, happy, stimulating friendships have been cultivated as a result. We would like to invite you to be a part of this.
Experience has taught us that something as simple as a regular visitor can greatly improve a person's quality of life and help them maintain their independence. While we go to great lengths to facilitate this, we believe that the true fulfilment of our idea exists in people all over the country seizing the initiative and creating a culture of connection within their own communities.
There is a magic here that we cannot pin down. Nor can we predict the full range of experiences you will gain by taking part, because the possibilities are limitless.
All we can do is help you make the connection.
Making Connections was established in 2009 and awarded a two year start up grant by the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht affairs. We are a non-profit organisation working with Health Services and community groups to alleviate loneliness and isolation by fostering meaningful friendships through social connectedness.
The use of smart phones and other technologies means that communications have reached a massive potential, yet we have never been less ‘connected' with one another. Research shows that loneliness is the single biggest issue facing senior members of our communities. Dun Laoghaire -Rathdown has a total population of 206,261 including almost 30,000 over the age of 65 years i.e. 14.5% in comparison to the national average of 11.2% (Ref. Census 2011). For this reason Making Connections began to work in this location, although ours is a model created for nationwide volunteering.
We support a large and diverse team of engaging and energetic volunteers who each visit an older person within the community for an hour each week. All volunteers come with reference checks and Garda vetting approval. We provide them with initial and ongoing training as well as all the support they need to carry out their role effectively.
Valuing Volunteers Award 2012
We were pleased to receive the Valuing Volunteers Award 2012 recognising the high professional standard of Making Connections Volunteer Programme. The event − organised by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Volunteer centre − was held in the Stillorgan Park Hotel on Wednesday October 17th and the Award was presented by Cllr. Tom Joyce of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. Thanks to our volunteers who came along on the night: Jennifer, Joe, Fiona, Kate, Manon and also to Samantha for her lively and engaging presentation about her experience as a volunteer with Making Connections.
Making Connections Award 2010
After just one year in existence, Making Connections was honoured to receive a Community Award for services to older people in the local community. The award was given by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
Making Connections is grateful to all our supporters who have donated services, skills, time and funding. If you are interested in supporting us please check our support us page or contact Mary O'Donohue for further information on how to get involved. Call us on 01 295 1053 or email.
We work with people over 65 years of age, although currently the majority of people who avail of a volunteer are over 75 years. In allocating volunteers, priority is given to those who are considered most vulnerable due to physical/mental health, because of a lack of social outlets or ongoing experience of loneliness or isolation.
Although we hope to expand our programme, at the moment we welcome referrals from HSE health centres (GP's, Public Health Nurses, Community Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers etc.) in the following locations: Balally, Ballybrack, Ballinteer, Blackrock, Booterstown, Cabinteely, Carrickmines, Churchtown, Clonskeagh, Cornelscourt, Cruagh, Dalkey, Deansgrange, Donnybrook, Dundrum, Dun Laoighaire, Foxrock, Goatstown, Glasthule,Glenageary, Glencullen, Johnstown, Kilmacud, Kilternan, Leopardstown, Loughlinstown, Monkstown, Mount Merrion, Milltown, Rathfarnham, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Sallynoggin, Sandyford, Shankhill, Stepaside, Stillorgan, Tibradden, Ticknock.
Please contact the office to have a referral form sent to you:
Phone 01 295 1053
In order to process the referral, it is a requirement that the form is completed in full and that it is signed by the older person as well as the referee. Please alert us to any relevant information not covered by questions on the referral form. We will contact you if we need additional information.
Who avails of Making Connections?
Usually people over the age of 70, living alone, or with their primary carer, or people in a nursing home with few callers.
What do volunteers do?
Volunteers are there to listen, to chat, to go for walks or a drive, to read aloud, to share similar interests such as sport, books, music, computers, board games, singing etc. Every connection is unique, just as every relationship is.
How are volunteers selected?
Making Connections staff is responsible for the interviewing and selection of volunteers. We have a strict interview process including training, reference and Garda checks.
Who will visit me?
We have volunteers of all ages - students, retired people, homemakers, professional people, or people seeking employment. They are taking part for various personal reasons, e.g. they are missing a parent or grandparent, gaining some experience for work or wishing to be a part of the local community. They all have one thing in common- a willingness to reach out and connect with an older member of the community in which they live. This is what makes them special.
Will the same volunteer come each visit?
Yes, we ask volunteers to commit to visiting the same person for 6‐9 months. This gives time to get to know each other and to build a relationship.
What if I don't connect with my volunteer?
This is not a problem. A staff member will contact you after thefirst few visits to see how you are getting on. As people don't always click, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a different person and if you have concerns at any stage, you can contact the office.
Will my volunteer help around the house?
No, our service is about companionship. We are not a replacement for home care help, nursing staff or family.
How is Making Connections funded?
Making Connections is dependent on grants, fundraising and donations. Please visit the support us page for details on how you can help us increase our connections in the community.
Where can I get more information?
Please contact the office for more information.
Phone 01 295 1053
We are a people who are interested in other people. We are a people who talk. We are a people who like to share our experiences, our knowledge, our skills, our wit and the fantastic quirks of our personalities − everything that makes us who we are.
When you volunteer with us you will be given the opportunity to connect with an older member of the community who has lived a full life and has many tales to tell; the opportunity to talk and to listen; the opportunity to hear stories that will broaden your horizon. Perhaps you will teach a skill, or learn a new one. Perhaps you will hear about a different Ireland, an Ireland that existed before you were born; or perhaps about parts of the world you haven't yet visited.
You will help to build a community where an older person can live an independent life without the fear of isolation; where people keep each other company; where there is laughter and excitement; where friendship is a door that opens between two lives and allows each person to step through and see something completely and wonderfully new.
We ask our volunteers to commit to visiting the person we match them with for an hour a week, for a minimum of nine months. You will be accompanied on the first visit by one of the staff from Making Connections.
Your commitment does not involve household tasks or personal care - rather your visits will be about keeping someone company; engaging in lively conversations, sharing common interests or swapping skills and life stories. Possibly, just possibly, there will be tea and biscuits involved. (let's face it: this nation was built on tea and biscuits).
Volunteers are our most valuable asset and we will support you with training, meetings, advice, recognition and social events.
We hold regular Volunteer Information Evenings where all potential volunteers are welcome to come along and to meet staff and other volunteers.
To volunteer with us simply follow these steps:
1. Complete and submit the online volunteer registration form.
For the references section, please provide contact details of two referees who are not relatives or friends, and remember to let them know you have done this.
2. Print and complete the Garda Vetting Form and return it to the Making Connections office. Original signature is required. We will forward this to the Garda vetting unit. It is important to give this form priority because the process can take up to 10 weeks and you must have approval before becoming an active volunteer. See guidelines here.
3. Print, sign and return the <declaration of good character. Original signature required.
4. Include a copy of photo ID from passport or driving licence.
5. Attend an induction evening for potential volunteers. These are 90 minute meetings held regularly in our office in Clonskeagh.
As a non‐profit organisation, we rely on the generous support of our friends to help us achieve a truly connected community. Whether you are an individual, a company, a trust, or a group of friends, any support you can offer is invaluable to us.
Donations can be made on‐line or by post. Alternatively, fundraising events are a great way to help us.
Before you go any further, we want you to know that you genuinely help to improve the communities we all live in. For that, you have our sincerest gratitude.
As an individual, you can help us in a number of different ways:
Donate by post
These can be in the form of a cheque, postal order or bank draft.Please send to:
36 Roebuck Road,
Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
Please click here to support us today.
Regular donations allow Making Connections to plan for the future, mapping out ways to continue the support we offer, and also to expand it. To arrange a regular donation, please print the attached standing order form and return to Making Connections. Alternatively, you can call us to discuss the details.
Everybody has their own creative ideas when it comes to fundraising. For further inspiration, check out what's going on in your local area or check out www.mycharity.ieand go to looking for fundraising ideas.
By including a pledge to Making Connections in your will, you ensure that we will be able to continue cultivating a connected and thriving community for generations to come. If you would like to do so, please seek advice from your solicitor. Also, please let us know so that we can assist you in every way possible.
In memoriam gifts
As an alternative to flowers following the death of a loved one, you could ask people to make a donation to Making Connections.
If you are a PAYE worker and donate more than €250 to Making Connections in a single year, we can claim back the tax you pay on that amount. Therefore, your donation could be worth as much as 41% more to us, while you yourself incur no extra cost. This donation can be made as a once-off gift or by instalments. For example a monthly gift of €21 amounts to €252 a year, and qualifies for the tax relief scheme.
As a corporate partnership, you can help us in a number of different ways:
Become a Making Connections strategic partner
Our partners are companies that roll up their sleeves and get involved in the work we do. From this fruitful association, your employees and customers will gain energy, satisfaction, and the knowledge that they are an integral part of a community where everybody looks out for everybody else.
By letting your employees know that there is a simple and effective way for them to make donations from their salary, you open the door to a valuable method of fundraising and encourage an awareness among your staff of Making Connections and the
work we do.
Volunteer training events, or outings for older people and the volunteers who visit them are just two examples of the type of event you could sponsor.
Corporate volunteering events
We are always on the look-out for new volunteers and these events are fantastic opportunities for your employees to connect with us. If you decide to hold one, we would appreciate an opportunity to make a presentation to your staff.
By making us a beneficiary of an internal fundraising event, or allowing us to place a donations box in your canteen, you provide Making Connections with a valuable source of support.
Adopt as your local charity of the year
Thanks to the tireless work of our volunteers and the crucial support of our partners, we have achieved a lot since our establishment. Nevertheless, we are always trying to increase our exposure, and adopting us as your Charity of the Year would help spread a public awareness of our idea, and of what it has achieved so far.
Connecting the generations when the clocks go back
When the clocks go back an hour, it’s an extra hour in bed right? But what if we could gain so much more?
Non-profit organisation, Making Connections has launched Give an Hour Gain an Hour to challenge people to use their extra hour to share some good times with an older person. Participants are also encouraged to share a story and photo on Facebook depicting what they both gained to celebrate the contribution of older people. The campaign aims to inspire the Nation to connect the generations and help to tackle stereotyping, isolation and loneliness.
“The campaign was inspired by feedback from our intergenerational befriending service.” Explains Mary O’Donohue, CEO, Making Connections. “A volunteer once said about the lady she visits “she’s totally changed my view of what an older person is… her mind is so youthful, and she’s so current!” This is why with Give an Hour Gain an Hour we believe that just an hour can inspire real social change.”
Melissa Mark is one of the first to share her story “With my extra hour I spent some time with the lovely Rose. We had a cheese and wine evening and put the world to rights! Rose told me all about her job working as a dress designer, she shared with me photos from her wedding - she had made the bridesmaid dresses and her own wedding dress but was so busy getting everyone else organised she ran out of time and had only tacked her own dress together!! We had a lovely fun evening and plan to do it again very soon!”
Connecting the generations is also a great way to find out something you never knew about a friend or family member. Aisling Corristine explains, “with my extra hour... I chatted about anything and everything with Deirdre King, I also discovered that her dad was a professional golfer who taught Samuel Beckett how to play”
To get involved and share your Give an Hour Gain an Hour story see here for details. The only question now is, what will your extra hour?
For more information, interview and quotes contact: Mary O’Donohue, CEO, Making Connections Ph: 01 295 1053 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharing befriending experiences
At Making Connections, volunteers are the real heart of the organisation. This month, a group of existing volunteers joined us for an evening to share their befriending experiences and to share their ideas about the growth of the organisation.
We also hosted an induction meeting to welcome a new group of new volunteers to the team. We would like to thank all our existing and new volunteers for the inspiring contribution that they make to the organisation. With their help, we are one step closer to our vision of connected communities where no one is isolated or alone./p>
UCD Mind Body Soul Festival
Making Connections were invited to be part of the UCD Mind Body Soul Festival. UCD Students Union are partnering with Making Connections this year to implement ‘Give an Hour Gain an Hour’ an exciting new campaign pilot project. We were amazed by the interest and positive feedback from all the UCD students.
Congratulations to the Making Connections Team who were jumping for joy after completing the DLR 10k to support the volunteer befriending programme that we do in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. We even got a mention by Dublin's Q102 at the start line!/p>
Celebrating Our 6th Birthday at Dublin Mini Marathon
Congratulations to the Making Connections team who braved the rain to complete the Mini Marathon 2015. We really appreciate the training and fundraising efforts, and for joining us to celebrate our 6th birthday. Many thanks to all of our supporters who have helped us to get so far. We look forward to enjoying many more events together in the future./p>
Local Businesses Team Up with Making Connections
Making Connections Supporter Ròisìn Horan with volunteer Camilla Mahon held a charity pub quiz and raffle in Mother Reilly's Rathmines last Tuesday raising €625 well exceeding their goal for the evening. We would like to thank the girls and all the help from the staff, generous donations from local businesses and everyone who was involved. A special thanks to The Uppercross House Hotel, Mother Reilly's bar and restaurant, Adam Hairdressing, John Adams hair and beauty, Mao, The Natural Bakery Rathmines, Swan Cinema, and Deveney's off licence for their kind and generous contributions which made up a fantastic prize list. A great night was enjoyed by all!
Volunteer Recognition from the Irish Times
We are delighted to see Making Connections Volunteer, Camilla Mahon profiled by the Irish Times as part of National Volunteering Week 2015. Here are some highlights from her interview;
Camilla, who has just finished a degree in psychology decided to become a volunteer after seeing how her grandfather's death affected her grandmother... “I've seen how upsetting it was for her to lose her partner of over 50 years... I came across Making Connections and told them all about my grandparents and that I wanted to work with older people.”
“The first lady I met once a week for about a year. She never married and lived on her own in the family home. She had a car accident which resulted in her losing her independence. Initially, my role was to encourage her to go for walks,” Mahon says. Over a year her weekly visits encouraged the woman to go back outside... She had low self-confidence after the accident, but she was such a gem to visit.”
Mahon says that, as well as giving something back to her community, she has benefited from volunteering with Making Connections. “I've made lots of new friends. There is a complete mix of people who volunteer - although they are mainly women. In fact, we need more men.”
In addition, “I've become more confident. I'm really shy, and I was very nervous that I wouldn't have anything to say, but I've become more aware of other people through the volunteering. There is such a huge lack of human contact nowadays. I realise now that even saying hello to an older person on the street can make such a difference to their day.”
Valero Volunteer of the Year Award
Congratulations to David Compier, a Making Connections befriending volunteer - who was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2014 by the company he works for in Liffey Valley Business Campus, Dublin.
Left to right: James Twohig, Director Ireland Operations; David Compier, Accountant Valero; Mary O'Donohue, Executive Director Making Connections; Eric Fisher, President Europe Valero
Welcome to the team
We are happy to welcome Lauren Ryan, a 3rd yr Psychology student from DCU who has joined the team to complete a 14 week Internship with us. The work placement is an integral part of her course.
Lauren has a keen interest in working in the voluntary sector after completing of her degree. She has already been involved in Dublin based community development programmes focused on improving community and educational involvement of children.
She is excited to be involved with Making Connections to get a feel for how theory and principles can be applied in a practical setting. “ I feel I am going to gain invaluable experience during my placement with a charity like Making Connections which is clearly providing such a wonderful service to a wide range of needs among older people in the local Community.”
Students forfeit holidays to volunteer
In partnership with Making Connections, a team of 8 students and a Project Manager volunteered a week of their time to support a family in need. They scrubbed, cleaned, disinfected, de cluttered, fumigated and painted the house where living conditions were a health hazard. The family - who were finding it difficult to cope - was referred to Making Connections by a public health nurse. The team of volunteers made a huge impact in the life of the family who shed tears of joy and gratitude on completion of a mammoth task. It was difficult to believe the amount the team achieved in such a short space of time. The volunteers were exhausted by the end but evidently happy to have forfeited a week of their holidays to give this project their all.
Making Connections would like to thank each one of them for their hard work dedication and sense of humour throughout. Well done girls!
Left to right: Clare Megan, Sile (Project Manager), Fiona and Genevieve
Making a difference in Dublin
Making Connections was contacted by Dublin South FM, community radio station to take part in a documentary series called 'Making a Difference' about people and organisations making a significant impact in the community. Mary O'Donohue Executive Director spoke about the loneliness older people feel when connections are cut and Esther Seoighe, a volunteer with the charity spoke about the rewarding side of volunteering, how easy it is to give just an hour a week and the huge difference an hour can make to someone who is feeling isolated.
Left to right: Esther Mary and Sarah Lavin from Dublin South FM
The Polytunnel Lads
At Making Connections, we go to great lengths to match the volunteer with the person they visit based on shared interests. This is a good foundation on which they can build a lasting relationship. It also facilitates the older person reengaging in an activity they once loved, which can have a very positive effect on their overall health and well-being.
Here is an example: Martin, a man in his 70's was left with a void in this life when his wife passed away. Once an outdoor man, the depression he endured for many years and a recent fall meant he had lost his passion for gardening and never got the opportunity to use his brand new poly tunnel.
He had worked for years as a landscaper and was well experienced with gardening. Martin was delighted to be introduced to Gavin, who also loved gardening and missed it since he came to live in an apartment in Dublin. Gavin was surprised when he returned for his second visit to see a great deal of work had been done in the garden. Martin felt Gavin's visits had given him “the urge ”to get back into a hobby he enjoyed so much.
Each week Gavin and Martin enjoy sharing tips and learning from each other's experience. After months of working side by side in the poly tunnel, the pair are now beginning to enjoy their own home-grown produce.
Joining Forces for the Women's Mini Marathon
This year Making Connections saw a variety of enterprises and counties - Dublin Galway Limerick Sligo Wicklow - come together to represent the organisation in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon. We were thrilled to have such enthusiastic and energetic people, our largest number of participants to date. The team consisted of our vivacious volunteers, committed staff, Health care workers, local businesses and sponsors of Making Connections. Pictured below are some of the team including, staff from various branches of AIB as well as employees from Valero (Texaco oil) and MAO Restaurants; two recent company partnerships for 2014..
The atmosphere on the day was electric and after crossing the finish line, the Making Connections team made their way back to the Russell Court Hotel to celebrate the achievement and the 5th anniversary of Making Connections. It was such a fun day and a wonderful opportunity to get to know more about the work being done by the charity. Aude surprised us by flying in from London to join us for the event. She is now working in London but still keeps in regular touch with the lady she visited while living in Dublin: they have become friends for life. We are very grateful for the support of all our mini-marathon team, and a special word of thanks to those who travelled long distances to join us. We are looking forward to seeing our team grow for next year's event.
Making Connections volunteers invited by a supporter of the charity
to the RHA Annual Exhibition
Left to right: Chris Shauna Suzanne Mary Rocio Emma Sue and Joe
The Great Limerick Run for Making Connections
A huge thank you to Kate, Anne, Ciara and Ellen pictured above (left to right), who put on their running shoes and took part in the Great Limerick Run on Sunday 4th May for Making Connections. This annual event saw over 12,000 people get involved. The six mile - or 10km - event which the four ladies took part in, attracted a massive 6,500 runners and walkers of all ages. Well done to you all on such a great achievement. Making Connections very much appreciates your support.
Making Connections invited to launch of Valero Volunteer Programme
Making Connections was warmly welcomed by Valero to the launch of their 2014 Volunteer Programme on Thursday, April 10th at their Dublin head office. Mary and Shauna were delighted with the opportunity to share information about the charity with employees and to explain the different volunteering options open to anyone interested in supporting older people in the local community. We are excited about the possibility of partnering with Valero staff and we are grateful to Bronagh and the team for facilitating this event.
Pub Quiz for Making Connections
We would like thank two of our volunteers, Lucy Johnson and Camilla Mahon who organised a pub quiz to raise money for Making Connections. Lucy and Camilla are students of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and both have recently joined the Making Connections team. The quiz took place on the 11th of February in Mother Reilly's Bar and Restaurant, Rathmines. A raffle was also held on the night; many thanks to the sponsors of the generous prizes: The Uppercross House Hotel, Deveney's Off-Licence and John Adam's Hair and Beauty. We would also like to extend a warm thank you to the people who took part in the quiz on the night and to the staff of Mother Reilly's for their help and support. The quiz raised €360 euro. Thanks very much girls!
Making Connections invited to Best Practice Forum
Executive Director of Making Connections, Mary O'Donohue was one of six invited speakers to the Best Practice Forum on empowering Vulnerable People organised by the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Citizen Information Service to mark Social Inclusion week on November 7th. The event was opened by An Cathaoirleach, Carrie Smyth. Each organisation made a ten minute presentation, sharing best practice in trying to improve the lives of people by providing information, advice, advocacy and — in the case of Making Connections — companionship
The presentations were followed by a lively interactive session with a wide audience including: Staff from CIS, Solicitors and Financial experts working in Dun Laoghaire, MABS, Local Employment Service, Southside Partnership, Dun Laoghaire Refugee Project, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Southside Women Action Network, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Volunteers Centre, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Spinal Injuries, NALA, Women's Aid, Dun Laoghaire Youth Service, New Community Partnership, Barnados, Age Action Ireland, Local TDs and Councillors and many others.
A Night at the Theatre
A supporter of Making Connections very kindly gifted tickets to the charity for Waiting for Godot at the Gaiety Theatre on Saturday October 5th. The stellar cast of this landmark show included Gary Lydon (The Clinic), former Bond Villain Gavan O'Herlihy (Never Say Never Again), Tadhg Murphy (The Speckled People, Da) and Conor Lovett, an actor renowned for his approachable and funny performances of Beckett's work.
A large group of Making Connections network attended the show which was immensely enjoyable and the source of very lively and engaging conversations at the interval. Looking forward to many social events like this.
Making Connections chosen as charity of choice 2014 for Mao
Mao Dundrum, Dun Laoghaire, Stillorgan and city centre have named Making Connections as charity of the year starting October 2013 and going right through to the end of 2014. Every time a customer orders Chilli Lime Beef, €1 will be donated to Making Connections. We have many reasons to be excited about the partnership with Mao, also because so much of the work we do is based in these locations.
AIG supports Making Connections
Making Connections is honoured to be nominated by AIG as one of their two chosen charities for 2013. As part of volunteer week within the company, a large group of enthusiastic and good humoured employees completed a very successful cyclathon in Merrion Shopping centre on April 22. This was followed by a Denim day fundraiser that same week. A million thanks to all who got involved and to the AIG social committee for all their hard work.