About The Next Step
The Next Step provides a year round programme of creative activities and workshops to support people who have experienced mental health issues and to promote and enhance mental health and well being.The core focus is a weekly Open Art Studio - which is on an open access, drop in basis - facilitated and supported by professional visual artists. We also run a variety of other activities on a weekly basis, including: Craft Cafe, Yoga, Woodcraft, Singing, 5 Rythyms Dance, Knitting & Crochet, The Naked Voice and Creative Writing. Other activities may be introduced from time to time.
Since its inception over 7 years ago, The Next Step has developed from one activity one day a week to the current situation where we run a range of activities 5 days a week. With this growth has come the need for much greater management input. For the first few years management duties were minimal and were carried out largely by Tony Francis, Treasurer, and Vincent Murphy, Chairperson. We were also assisted by our art facilitator Charlotte Donovan who did most of the day to day management. At this time, we ran one or two days a week. We were based in the Camden Palace Art Centre where we had no responsibility for the building - we just used the space. Others opened and closed, kept the building clean and tidy, etc.
3 years ago the Camden Palace closed and we had to find a new location. We were fortunate to be able to relocate to the Unitarian Church and from January 2016 we have been located there. The move to the Unitarian Church brought with it a range of new responsibilities. We were now responsible for opening in the morning, closing in the evening, keeping the place clean and tidy etc. In order to do this we had to find daily volunteers who would take charge of this process. We have been successful in having enough volunteers throughout this time, however volunteers generally stay for a limited period of time so there is an ongoing need to recruit and train new volunteers. Also about this time the need for Garda vetting arose. We now need to ensure that all volunteers, committee members and facilitators are Garda vetted.
We took a decision to comply with the Governance Code for voluntary organisations and charities. We developed the necessary protocol in house and at no cost and we are now proud to say that we are compliant. Our protocols can be downloaded from our website.
During our third year we were joined by Avril McCleary who acted as Secretary and took responsibility for day-to-day operations. Her input was invaluable when we moved to the Unitarian Church. Avril retired earlier this year. Tony and Vincent are planning to retire within the next 2 years. There is a need for new board members committed to ensuring that The Next Step continues into the future. There will be a need to develop new management structures to facilitate this. Current board members are already working on this. Among the items being considered is whether we need to engage paid staff because of the level of commitment needed for day-to-day operation. Paid staff brings with it the obligations as an employer and the need for additional funding. Currently the annual budget is €40,000 - €45,000 per annum. We get about half this from the HSE, about 15% comes from members’ weekly contributions and the rest from philanthropic organisations. We don’t have any agreed multi-annual funding, but we have been fortunate in being able to fund our requirements and in building up a reserve equivalent to about one year’s funding requirement. Our funding goes to pay facilitators, to pay for the use of the unitarian church, insurances, materials for arts and crafts and other miscellaneous expenses. Our accounts are available for download on our website.
New board members
New board members should be committed to developing The Next Step to its next phase. Experience in the field of mental health is not necessary, but an interest in mental health and empathy with those who experience difficulties would be important. The new board member should be willing not just to attend the requisite four board meetings per annum but also to become engaged in the development of a new and sustainable structure for The Next Step. A willingness to take on the role of chairperson or treasurer would be important. We would anticipate that the person should be prepared to spend perhaps 2 to 5 hours a week, not every week and with flexibility as to when the hours are applied. The reward will be a new and more robust organisation ready to continue into the medium term.
Level of English required for this role:
Minimum time commitment: 1 year
Location of volunteering opportunity:
Unitarian Church, Cork
Screening details for this role:
- Formal Interview
- Garda Vetting
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Is this opportunity suitable for groups/teams of volunteers?