Experiences of volunteering with newcomers in Ireland

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As international immigration to Ireland is increasing, there has been little attention for its impact on receptive host communities. This study investigates the role of host community volunteers in supporting newcomers within a local community development organisation and explores their contributions to social integration. By focusing on Irish-born volunteers engaged in conversational English language classes, the research examines how experiences from volunteering influence perspectives on migration and how they impact existing migration narratives within the community. Findings of the research include that motivations for volunteering are diverse and distinct from comparable fields of study. Experiences from volunteering positively influence people’s perspectives, contributing to respect and understanding for migrants within the community. While volunteers acknowledge negative attitudes towards migrants are prevalent, there is no evidence of a strong polarisation in society. Furthermore, the study shows that volunteers play a significant role in facilitating integration of newcomers by enhancing social connections and access to services. The research shows the importance of volunteers in promoting social cohesion, challenging negative narratives, creating nuanced perspectives within host communities and complementing government integration policies. Insights from this study will contribute to research and policy aimed at enhancing social integration and acceptance of diversity in evolving migration contexts.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen