Let’s reach out together.
Our work would not be possible without the help of our volunteers. Each one has been actively involved in advocating our social justice values and has learnt lots along the way.
We currently have Volunteer Opportunities in our Irish Chaplaincy projects as follows:
|Administration||General admin, answering the phone, fundraising|
|Prisoners||Prison visiting, casework admin, answering the phone|
|Elderly||Befriending, telephone support, casework admin|
|Travellers||Prison visiting, casework admin, answering the phone|
Please complete this confidential application form detailing which project you’d like to get involved with and we’ll reply as soon as possible. Please give us as much information as possible about why you want to get involved and what skills you’d like to share.
Some volunteers and staff of Irish Chaplaincy working with vulnerable clients or their data are required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) before commencing their role.
Please check which roles requires DBS.
If your volunteer role requires DBS clearance, please download
Archdiocese of Westminster DBS forms here. Be aware that this lengthens the application process.
Contact us if you would like assistance to complete any of these forms.
020 7482 5528
By submitting this application you consent to any personal information you supply being recorded and stored electronically and used for lawful purposes in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. You may withdraw consent at any time by contacting the Data Controller, Irish Chaplaincy.
MK: While studying at All Hallows, Dublin, I was privileged to do a 'pastoral placement ' at Mountjoy's Women's prison. Whilst there I accompanied some of the female prisoners on family home visits. This was followed by working as a prison chaplain for twelve years in the north east of England. I loved this ministry but my favorite prison story is about a lovely lady called Annie, a traveller, who having been extradited from an English prison longed to visit her family in Cork. The then governor, John Lonergan, sure that Annie would never be seen again, hesitated to let her out for the day. I pleaded on her behalf and permission was granted. On the 17th March we both headed off by train to Cork. At the end of a very emotional day we not only returned on time to Mountjoy but we also brought The Governor some chocolate and a thank you card! Mr. Lonergan used this story at a later lecture when speaking about risk- taking and trusting in the goodness of people. When I retired from full time work in Acklington and Castington prisons I came to Essex. Aware that I had time to spare, and knowing some of the chaplains at the London office, I was invited to help with their heavy work load. I was made very welcome and I enjoy my time here.
EG: What do you do at the Chaplaincy?
MK: The prisoners have a direct line to the Prison Outreach Office and sometimes that is the only contact they have with the outside world. I answer the telephone and direct their calls to the appropriate person if I am unable to address their issues. I also help with whatever administration needs to be done and I go on prison visits occasionally.
EG: What do you think the ongoing needs are in the Prison Outreach?
MK: Staff are doing admirable work at the office. More staff and volunteers are needed, especially people with experience of prison visiting and computer skills. There are hundreds of Irish prisoners on our books: some are doing life sentences, others who are unable to cope commit suicide. The staff deal with issues of discrimination, bullying, advice, finance appeals; and their families also need support.
EG: What do you like most about volunteering?
MK: I like the contact with the prisoners and their families. It is good to be able to trace and support the father, mother, son or daughter incarcerated in this dreadful prison system and their distraught families. I also like being able to support the staff with their heavy work load.
EG: Thanks Moira, it’s great to have you at the Irish Chaplaincy.
MK: Thank you. It is good to have the opportunity to help and to respond to the Lord. He said 'I was in prison and you visited Me... (Annie is a pseudonym)
It strikes me that the way I describe volunteering as part of the Irish Chaplaincy’s Seniors Project really under-sells what we do. I should be saying, ‘I volunteer as part of the Irish Chaplaincy’s Seniors Project and visit an Irish lady for a cup of tea and a good chat.’
I began volunteering with the Chaplaincy about two years ago; I’d heard about the Seniors Project and its visiting scheme from someone I worked with, who had been doing it for a couple of years himself. I thought of my parents, and thought if either of them were on their own and I wasn’t around – it was something that I thought I’d like someone to do for them if I lived too far away.
It isn’t one-way traffic though – this isn’t something where I, the volunteer, am the person giving something – speaking to the lady that I go and see, let’s call her…Bridget…often gives me a different perspective on the way I think about something – I find the visits quite relaxing, and sometimes it’s just great to have a chat.
It’s also much less of a chore than I might have expected it to be; I usually head to Bridget’s place for around 11am on a Sunday; it takes me an hour if I choose the leisurely bus route, and this gives me time to think about the week I’ve had, and to wonder how Bridget has been in the last couple of weeks. In truth, it gets me up and out of bed on a Sunday morning when otherwise, I’d likely be on the sofa watching Frasier re-runs and feeling bad for having done nothing with the day.
In terms of what I can offer Bridget, I’m there as someone to talk to; someone to try and assist if she has an issue with her flat; someone to post a letter; someone who occasionally does a bit of hoovering for her.
I think this is a key issue for the Chaplaincy and the Seniors Project – we should be proud of what we can offer and we shouldn’t be shy in telling the world about it. As with a lot of things though, time and money isn’t really on our side, which is why we need to get people volunteering and to harness the skills that our volunteers have to make the Project more successful.