Leo, from Ballina sees volunteering his time as an essential part of belonging to his local community. Leo has volunteered with Ballina Salmon Festival, the Irish Guide Dogs and over the last number of years has organised an annual Community Boat Trip for members of Western Care.
Leo says about his volunteering:
“I’m capable and able and I feel that as a local to Ballina town I should volunteer and play my part. I like my town and when you give your time to local people you can see the fruits of your labour much more easily than if you are donating money to a far away cause.”
For the Community Boat Trip, Leo takes upon himself to coordinate 23 local boat-owners and local businesses to create a fun day of games, fishing and fun for people with intellectual disabilities. Every summer Leo leads a flotilla of boats from Ballina quay to Bartra Island where the group enjoys cockle picking, fishing, treasure hunting – while another group of volunteers he has recruited prepare a barbecue lunch with supplies donated by local shops and businesses.
It is a big project,but Leo says “I always would recommend that it is better to take on one big thing and give more of yourself to it, rather than giving a little of yourself to a lot of different causes. There is just such a great sense of accomplishment when you can look back and see what you have achieved. You just feel good about yourself. I really believe everyone should and can do something for their community.”