Inclusive Volunteering: Exploring Migrant Participation in Volunteerism

Background to the Research

The Migrant Integration Strategy (2017) recognises integration as a two-way process and highlights the potential role of volunteerism as a means of supporting migrant integration and civic engagement. Figures from local Volunteer Centres around Ireland show record numbers of ‘non-nationals’ registering for volunteering opportunities: nearly half of those registered with Cork Volunteer Centre identify themselves as non-nationals. Despite the policy focus on volunteering as a means of civil engagement, and the significant numbers of migrants who are coming forward to volunteer, very little research has been carried out on migrant volunteering in Ireland.

Aims and Objectives

This research project will explore migrant engagement in civic society through volunteerism from an inclusive and strengths-based perspective. In particular, the research sets out to:

  • profile the scale and nature of migrant volunteering in Cork city and county, based on a secondary analysis of existing data held by Cork Volunteer Centre
  • investigate migrant perspectives on volunteering and understand their motivations for volunteering
  • explore migrants’ experience of volunteering, including the perceived benefits and challenges associated with volunteering, and the impact which volunteering has had on their lives
  • investigate barriers which may hinder migrants from volunteering
  • understand how to enhance collaboration between migrants, community stakeholders and Volunteer Centres, around a shared understanding of local needs and strengths.
  • develop concrete recommendations and guidelines for sustainable action in support of migrant volunteering.

The research is based on a mixed-methods approach including an online survey of migrant volunteers registered with Cork Volunteer Centre and qualitative interviews.

Project Outputs

Scanlon, M. and Martin, S. (2022) Inclusive Volunteering: Exploring Migrant Participation in Volunteerism. Cork: University College Cork.

Scanlon, M. and Martin, S. (2022) 'How migrant volunteering has benefits for everyone', RTE Brainstorm, 24 May 2022.

Project Funding and Dates:

This project has been funded by Irish Research Council (New Foundations Scheme) and runs from Nov. 2020 - April 2022.

Project Team

Dr Shirley Martin (PI) (School of Applied Social Studies), Dr Margaret Scanlon (ISS21), Dr Martin Galvin (UCC Civic and Community Engagement Officer) and Dr Julie Connelly (Cork Volunteer Centre).

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30