A Year-End Message from The Wheel

Posted on
19 Dec 2021
by Deirdre Garvey | CEO of The Wheel

2021 has been another rollercoaster year and most of us are in desperate need of the forthcoming break. But before signing off, I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.

What We’ve Learned from 2021

Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that this has again been a demanding year for all of us. Some of us have grappled with grief and illness, while many struggled with uncertainty and a changing work environment. Hopefully, this has been made more bearable by the knowledge that you are not alone, you are part of a community.

For me, perhaps the single most important insight from 2021 (reinforced by the messages from COP26), is that once this pandemic ends, the clock won’t turn back to 2019. The world is indeed indelibly changed, and the future is uncharted. Our challenge as leaders within our communities is that once we embrace this reality, we can begin to shape the future we want. It is, after all, what we as charities, community groups and social enterprises do best.

The Wheel in 2021: Our Work for You

Despite the very many challenges, 2021 has seen a significant impact of the support and representatation we have been able to deliver for our members. We are about to embark on a very exciting new journey mapped out in our new strategic plan, which will be launched early next year. Collaboration is a cornerstone of this new strategy, and it has been a key theme of our work throughout the past year.

Together with our members and partners, we have launched many exciting projects, including the We Act campaign, the Shared Island, Shared Practices initiative and most recently, a new partner-matching facility on our Access Europe website. The relationship between our sector and the state is also arguably better than at any point in the recent past, and there are welcome signs that an improved partnership between statutory bodies and our sector may, with work, follow.

For more about The Wheel’s work in the last year, you can listen to this special episode of our podcast, where my colleagues provide an overview of some of the key developments from 2021 that will continue to shape your work into 2022.

Thank You for Your Support

I want to sincerely thank you for your continued support as a member of The Wheel. Our community continues to grow, and in November we were delighted to welcome our 2,000th member. You are the reason we exist and our members will continue to be at the heart of everything we do. 

Please feel free to lift the phone to me at any time to discuss how we can enhance our work together, to achieve the best outcomes for the people and communities we serve.

On behalf of myself and my colleagues, I extend my gratitude and respect for the important work you do and the contribution you and your organisation make to people, families, communities and society – not just here in Ireland but wherever it is most needed.

And may I end by wishing you and your colleagues a peaceful, happy and safe Christmas and New Year.


Deirdre Garvey | CEO of The Wheel

Deirdre Garvey