Making a World of Difference this National Volunteer Week
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers, and for 2019, the theme for the week is “Making a world of difference”.
For this year’s National Volunteer Week, we’re sharing our platform with some of our partners, to profile how volunteers make the world of difference to local organisations and communities throughout WA.
A proud partner of Act-Belong-Commit, Volunteering WA is the peak body for volunteering in our State representing 600, 000 volunteers and over 700 volunteer involving organisations as our members. Whilst we operate a website that matches volunteers with volunteer positions, our core business is advocating for and advancing the sector, running a hugely successful corporate volunteering programme and providing world class training for volunteer managers. We also hold several major events during the year that celebrate volunteers and the contributions they make to our social, political and cultural landscape. By sector, volunteering is WA largest industry by employment and the economic, cultural and social value of volunteering to WA is $39 billion.
Here in our office in West Leederville and across our regional hubs we are proud to have a team of 38 volunteers. They assist us in many different ways, from corporate projects to volunteer support services and attend the various events we hold each year. We also rely on our wonderful 450 volunteers during our annual Homeless Connect Perth event which brings much needed services to 2000 guests who attend.
We love our volunteers!
Albany & Regional Volunteer Service
As Manager of the Albany & Regional Volunteer Service, I have the privilege of hearing some very inspiring volunteer stories. People who work tirelessly and expect little or no reward for it. They are part of the fabric of our community and without them; we would all be poorer, socially, culturally and economically.
It is worth sharing some important facts about the value of volunteering:
- 4/5 people in WA volunteer
- When you count the time they contribute, it’s an average of 15.9 hours each per week
- That contribution is worth $39 billion annually to the WA State Economy.
- Volunteering is the biggest industry by employment.
We have seen an example of this value recently right here in Albany, with 50 volunteers making it possible for us to experience the Field of Lights. Volunteers contributed over 30,000 hours to install 16,000 lights, maintain them each night, act as guides for visitors and to take them down at the end of the installation. When you consider the May 2017 to May 2018 Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, that volunteers are now worth $41.72 per hour in Australia that is a significant contribution to our community and our economy.
Whether we are awarded for our efforts or we go quietly about our volunteer work, we all have an opportunity to come together and celebrate National Volunteer Week. To every volunteer, I’m sure I am not alone when I say our community is richer and healthier because of you. - Tracy Sleeman
Many vital community services rely extensively on the tireless efforts of volunteers. To learn more about Albany & Regional Volunteer Service and how you can get involved, check out their website here.
Albany Roller Derby League
Albany Roller Derby League has a crew of 10 coaches who volunteer their time every week (over 40 weeks a year) to coaching kids aged from seven right up to adults in about various roller sports programs. They even take their coaching to the remote areas of the Great Southern including Tambellup, Gnowangerup and Denmark as well as coaching in Albany!
Most weeks we will see a total of 9 hours of on-skates coaching happening at The Track in Albany as well as planning, preparation and ongoing skill education for all coaches.
In 2018, skating programs were delivered to over 200 people through Junior Roller Skate, Act-Belong Commit Skate Like a Girl, Skate Fit, Roller Derby and Roller Hockey. The volunteers of ARDL are the lifeblood of roller sports in Albany.
Want to know more about skating at Albany Roller Derby League? Click here.
Buddy Up Australia
Buddy Up Australia exists to support the mental and physical wellbeing of those who serve or have served in military or emergency service. That’s our Police Officers, Firefighters, Ambulance Officers and those in the military.
People who have served have been in an organisation where their sense of purpose and identity is high as well as their fitness level so when they leave, there can be a sense of loss. Buddy Up Australia aims to provide the good parts of the service life, including the connection of like-minded people with a similar background - without the high level of risk that comes with service.
Essentially Buddy Up Australia aims to keep our buddies in the well zone of mental and physical health – including fitness programs, volunteering programs and free counselling.
The organisation is modeled off a US organisation that has proven successful in enriching the lives of its members and reducing post-traumatic stress disorder, by offering connection, regular fitness activities and opportunities to volunteer which align to service values.
Giving back to the community is a key part of the organisation and all our members have the opportunity to volunteer. We recently volunteered alongside Kinross College students to create stage one of the their urban orchard. It was highly rewarding for all parties involved.
Buddy Up Australia operates in Perth, Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane and is aiming to expand to have chapters in every state by the end of 2020.
Learn more about Buddy Up Australia.
The Beaufort St Community Centre
The Beaufort St Community Centre is a volunteer-run, self-funded, not-for-profit centre. Our hardworking volunteers ensure that the centre is a vibrant and inclusive community-directed association, in which people can participate, share and learn in a safe and welcoming environment. Our volunteers go above and beyond in their commitment to community through this centre. And they still find the time to be part of the Management Committee, teach classes, learn new skills, and form groups such as our Stashbuster Charity Quilting Group, and Yarnworkers for a Cause, (who make and donate quilts & blankets to various charities).
The Beaufort St Community Centre is the trading name of the Mt Lawley Neighbourhood Learning Centre Inc., that was formed in 1978 to provide creative and educational opportunities for people in a friendly supportive atmosphere. Members can meet, discuss ideas, exchange skills & enhance their community. The Centre still relies upon the expertise of local volunteers, and some paid teachers, to provide affordable courses for the community. But the Centre does much more than just utilise the knowledge and skills of generous and talented people – it provides a focal point for new people in the area who want to make friends and an affordable opportunity for all local people to contribute to and benefit from a healthy local community.
You too can Act-Belong-Commit by volunteering. The bonus is it will help you to feel good about yourself, improve your self-confidence, self-esteem and enhance your mental health! Check out our full list of Partner organisations for a volunteering opportunity near you.