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18 May 2020
COVID-19 may be changing the way volunteers work, but Queensland volunteers continue to change lives and change communities in the face of the pandemic.
This week, Queenslanders are encouraged to say thank you to volunteers and celebrate their hard work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as part of National Volunteer Week (18 – 24 May).
Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke said the dedication of volunteers had never been more valuable, particularly those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 like the Care Army.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Queenslanders have been stepping up to help out – whether it’s helping in the health and medical sectors or the almost 28,500 Queenslanders who have signed up to the Care Army to help our state’s seniors,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“Their contribution during this pandemic has been immense and it’s helped us be so successful in our fight against the virus.
“But it’s not just those fighting COVID-19 who are making a difference.
“During the devastating bushfires last year, we saw thousands of volunteers putting their lives on the line to fight those fires and support people who had been affected in their community.
“During tough times, Queenslanders do what they do best, by rolling up their sleeves and lending a helping hand for their community.
“There are more than 714,000 volunteers in Queensland and this week I want to thank each and every one of them for their hard work.”
The theme of National Volunteer Week this year is Changing Lives, Changing Communities.
While some of the planned events and activities for National Volunteer Week in Queensland have been cancelled due to COVID-19, many are still going ahead in a digital format.
Volunteering Queensland CEO Mara Basanovic said in this uncertain time, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of volunteers.
“Across the state volunteer organisations are embracing technology to host online events and activities that say thanks to volunteers in a different way this year,” Ms Basanovic said.
“There will be virtual coffee and chats, digital certificates, social media campaigns, thank you emails, online games, videos, and newsletter shoutouts.”
The Palaszczuk Government has provided $40,000 sponsorship to Volunteering Queensland for the Queensland Volunteering Awards – which will be held later in the year – and a Small Grants initiative for when restrictions on larger social gatherings are eased.
“Volunteers can look forward to meeting again in person once larger social gatherings are allowed, with small grants now available for volunteer organisations to host welcome back functions,” Ms Basanovic said.
Small grants of up to $500 each will be available to volunteering organisations to host volunteer recognition and social events, volunteer professional development or events focused on increasing volunteer participation.
Applications for the Small Grants will open Sunday 24 May on the Volunteering Queensland website – volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/grants – and will close on Tuesday 30 June.
Mrs O’Rourke said providing sponsorship to Volunteering Queensland was one of the ways the Palaszczuk Government was showing their support volunteers.
“There are a number of ways Queenslanders can show their support for volunteers,” she said.
“We’re encouraging Queenslanders to share a smile with volunteers by taking a photo as part of the national smiley face wave campaign and posting it to social media with #NVW2020.
“We might not be able to see them face to face and tell them how much they are valued, but through the power of social media we can certainly take a smiley photo and let them know we are thinking of them.”
Ms Basanovic said National Volunteer Week is also about encouraging Queenslanders to give volunteering a go.
“There are roles available now where you can volunteer while you are staying home and staying safe, or you can plan how to make volunteering part of your life, when life goes back to normal,” she said.
Find out more about volunteering in Queensland, including volunteer opportunities, at volunteeringqld.org.au.
To get involved in online National Volunteer Week events and activities in your community, visit volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw.
Joint release with the Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke