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Pyjama Foundation nominated for Volunteering Impact Award – Banyo

20 February 2017

Pyjama Foundation has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards for its support given to more than 5,000 children in its Love of Learning Program. Its aim is to transform the lives of kids in care with learning, life skills and confidence to change the direction of their lives.

Through its Love of Learning Program, Pyjama Angels visit a child in their home for up to 1.5 hours a week to read books aloud, play educational games and help with homework. It instills a love of learning in these children, and encourages them to reach their full potential in life.

The Pyjama Foundation currently supports 1,000 volunteers in Queensland on a weekly basis.

According to Deborah Scott-Ranson volunteers say participating in the Love of Learning Program “has allowed them to grow, both personally and professionally, and for many, visiting the child is the highlight of their week.”

These are direct quotes from the volunteers and program participants themselves:

“Being a Pyjama Angel is so incredibly rewarding. To see my little cherub grow, and achieve things like reading an entire book – it’s a huge win, not just for her, but for me too. It’s the little wins that count, and to see her face light up when she achieves something makes it so worthwhile.” – Julie, Pyjama Angel

“I’d really recommend becoming a Pyjama Angel if you like children and want to make a difference in their lives. It is such a rewarding experience and improves your own self-worth – contributing to development of the next generation. These few hours a week mean so much to a young person and their future and is only a small amount of time out of your own life.” – Sandra Godsell, Pyjama Angel

“I feel extra happy in my heart when she comes. She is always kind to me and we are always happy. I always have lots of fun reading. I like reading a lot!” – Maddie, 7, Program Participant

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.


Past media releases

2017

A remarkable young man with impeccable manners & a quiet demeanor, Jarrod Johnson – Brisbane

20 February 2017

Jarrod Johnson, 18, has been able to enlist an army of extra volunteers to assist the LifeFlight organisation at various events.

According to Vicki James, Community Engagement Manager at LifeFlight, “Jarrod has been volunteering with LifeFlight for the past two years whilst studying his senior years at Aviation High School and he still found time to volunteer and encourage his fellow classmates to volunteer their time.”

For example with their Brisbane Gala Dinner, “Jarrod enthusiastically enlisted the support of his fellow classmates to assist us with the event and they even arrived early to help us with car-parking duties. The students left at midnight as guests were leaving but not Jarrod, he wouldn’t leave until we were finished cleaning and packing at about 2am and then he drove back to the Gold Coast. His ability to gather more volunteers to support the cause speaks more about the respect his fellow classmates have for him and his strong work ethic.”

“Jarrod earned the respect of his peers and younger students, sending a strong message that volunteering and serving the community is certainly active within this younger generation.”

“Whilst many senior school students are contemplating career choices, what to wear to their school formal and many other teenage distractions, Jarrod was giving his time and weekends to help others. Jarrod still attended his school formal, worked part time and completed his 100 hours of supervised driving to obtain his driver’s licence so he could get to these events.”

“Jarrod’s family situation like so many is a little fractured and he has had to work to allow him to follow his life career path and his extracurricular pursuits. Jarrod has learnt from an early age that life is what you put into it, making him wiser than his years.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Emerald Neighbourhood Centre nominated for Volunteering Impact Award – Emerald

20 February 2017

The Emerald Neighbourhood Centre Program has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards for its help with the local people of the Central Highlands in need of food, shelter, money, vouchers, exercise classes and more.  

According to Wayne Miller, who has been helped by the centre with food, vouchers for fuel and rent in very serious times of need for him, “the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre helped me in ways that can never truly be repaid in that they gave me hope for the future that I didn't have before getting their help... It’s not a small thing to say that they saved me from a premature end thanks to their kindness and compassion.”

“Some are paid but most are not and they are self-funded through donations, so to get an award would be amazing for their help and dedication to the people of the Central Highlands.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Volunteer driver for frail, aged & people with a disability, Lyn Potter - Loganlea

20 February 2017

Lyn Potter, 65, has been nominated for Volunteer of the Year Award for her dedication to TransitCare.

Lyn has volunteered for the organisation for over 17 years driving the frail aged and disabled people to appointments in her own car to keep them active in the community.

Lyn drives clients to appointments or to social events sometimes working 5 days a week and even on weekends to keep the elderly active in their communities and to prevent social isolation which in turn can lead to depression and dementia.

Deborah Campbell, her colleague in TransitCare, said Lyn “offers her services by sewing for them too, doing repairs and alterations to their clothes as a lot of clients don’t have much money. She is happy to pick up and deliver sewing so she can stop for a chat with clients who may not have any family.”

“Lyn always has a cheery smile to greet everyone. She is also a chatterbox and has many stories to amuse clients. She keeps everyone entertained. She even has regular clients because people ask for her to be their driver.”

“Lyn cares greatly for her clients and recently requested to be the driver on our new monthly bus tour service. Instead of slowing down in retirement, she is taking on new challenges.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Volunteering Australia kicks off advocacy campaign with event at Parliament House

14 February 2017

Today, on Valentine’s Day, Volunteering Australia and State and Territory Peak partners hosted the ‘Share the Love’ for Volunteer Support Services event at Australian Parliament House to kick off a national volunteering advocacy campaign. Minister for Social Services Christian Porter MP and Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Social Services Louise Pratt spoke at the event, attended by politicians and representatives of volunteer support services from around the country.

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer, Ms Adrienne Picone said, the event was an opportunity for the volunteering sector to raise our concerns directly with politicians, about the new Strong and Resilient Communities grants program and the value that volunteering support services offer.

“We have known since the release of the 2016-17 Federal Budget that the Federal Government would undertake a redesign of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants to take effect from 1 January 2018, but until the last few weeks it has not been clear what form that redesign would take,” Ms Picone said. “We now know that the volunteer management stream of funding which has been specifically allocated to volunteer support services will be eradicated, and that volunteering will be forced to compete alongside other worthwhile projects from across the community services for broader pools of funding that respond to themes of disadvantage.”

“This is just one step in the gradual devaluation of volunteer management that we have watched with concern over recent years. Another example of this is the decision a few years ago to move volunteering out of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, which was an accurate reflection of our role as a community partner that touches every portfolio of Government.”

“We are concerned that these proposed changes to funding have the potential to rip the heart out of place-based volunteering support services,” Ms Picone said. “This year, the Strong and Resilient Communities grants are delivering over $7.4 million in funding to on-the-ground programs as part of the volunteer management stream of funding. To lose this would be an enormous blow to communities who rely on the volunteering programs that this funding delivers.”

“Today was an important opportunity to share stories about the vital role that volunteer support services play in delivering place-based, effective volunteering in Australian communities. We are asking our Federal representatives to retain funding for volunteer management and to recognise the impact that our work has at the heart of Australian communities,” Ms Picone said.

Ipswich Hospice Care nominated for Volunteering Impact Award – Ipswich & West Moreton

14 February 2017

Ipswich Hospice Care Inc has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards for its palliative care and bereavement service in Ipswich and the West Moreton region. By supporting the needs of the community, it is ensuring the development of healthy and strong community infrastructure.

The not-for-profit, which is run by a group of volunteers who work in the office and reception areas, fundraising, kitchen, bereavement support, book shop and in the maintenance of the building and grounds, has been nominated for the Volunteering Impact Award.

According to Paul Brew, General Manager volunteer at the organisation, 20,921 hours were donated by volunteers last financial year.

Mr Brew said that Ipswich Hospice Care charges no fees for any of the services offered and it relies heavily on the generosity of the local community and support of fundraising events. “It is an outstanding achievement to provide such highly acknowledged care without a fee for services. This principle and philosophy allows those whose finances are an issue along with their terminal illness to receive quality and evidence based holistic palliative care.”

“Palliative care is care that is provided to people who have a progressing terminal illness that will lead to death. Cure is no longer the aim of treatment; instead the focus is on maintaining the best quality of life for each person.”

Mr Brew ensures that “Ipswich Hospice Care can benefit the dying and their loved ones by:

  • Allowing terminally ill people and their families to remain together in the comfort and dignity of ‘home-like’ surroundings.
  • Providing expert pain and symptom management allowing a terminally ill person to be as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
  • Treating the person, not the disease.
  • Focusing on quality not quantity of life.
  • Providing an interdisciplinary team of knowledgeable professionals and volunteers to care for people and their loved ones who are experiencing a life-limiting illness.
  • Providing a cost-effective alternative to the high costs of hospitals and traditional institutional care. Many people find hospice provides financial relief.”

“A good death gives people dignity, choice and support to address their physical, personal, psychological, social and spiritual needs.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Inspiring young woman nominated for volunteering awards, Jasmine Robinson – Ashmore & Arundel

14 February 2017

An inspirational teenager has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards due to her willingness to volunteer and assist at any function or event.

Jasmine Robinson, 17, has volunteered for two years on PCYC Ashmore's Youth Management Team and for three years at Arundel Park Riding for Disabled.

Deb James, who coordinates Jasmine’s Youth Management Team and oversees her volunteering, said “Nothing is ever too hard for Jasmine, always with a smile on her face and a beautiful attitude.”

“An example of her outstanding commitment was a weekend late last year whereby the Youth Management Team attended the Suns Sleepout, raising money for youth homelessness. She participated in all activities, encouraging our younger members and was a joy to have her attend. Then in the morning, after sleeping out on the football field, she went off to her other volunteering commitment assisting the disabled horse riding for a full day (when I went home to lay on the couch).”

“Jasmine is a fantastic promoter and organiser in these drives.”

“If it wasn't for such willing volunteers like Jasmine we wouldn't be able to offer such wonderful services the riding centre offer.”

“She always has words of encouragement to build others up.”

Jasmine is a full time student at Aquinas College completing her senior year. She has also been nominated by her school for 2017 International Woman's Day Youth Leadership award.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

DSS funding changes show Volunteer Support Services continue to be undervalued

8 February 2017

An announcement today from the Department of Social Services that volunteer support services will no longer be eligible for their own pool of grants funding has disappointed Volunteering Australia, who say that the move demonstrates the Federal Government’s continued undervaluing of the role of volunteering in building strong and resilient communities.

Volunteering Australia was today invited to attend a consultation with The Department of Social Services on the redesign of the Strengthening Communities grants program into the new Strong and Resilient Communities (SARC) grants program from 1 January 2018.

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer, Ms Adrienne Picone said that the Strengthening Communities Grants Program is currently the primary source of funding for volunteer support services – but that the changes outlined in today’s DSS meeting would make such funding much harder to access.

“What we learned today is the Strong and Resilient Communities grants program does not provide specific funding for volunteer support services,” Ms Picone said. “This is yet another example of the deprioritisation of volunteer management by the Government and a lack of recognition for the role volunteer support services play in promoting, resourcing and supporting volunteering in local communities across Australia.”

“We are concerned that this proposal does not fully consider the impact of not providing discrete grants for the infrastructure that supports volunteering and volunteer involving organisations. Volunteering Australia and the sector as a whole feel their concerns have not been heard and the fact that volunteering contributes more value to the community than many other major industries, which receive substantial funding from Government, continues to be ignored.”

“Effective, safe, productive and efficient volunteering does not “just happen” and it is not free. It requires expertise, leadership and local knowledge, as well as effective workforce management. Volunteer support services provide infrastructure in communities to lead, enable and build capacity to recruit and retain volunteers in a wide variety of organisations and services, from the human services and civil society groups, to environmental, animal welfare and sporting groups.”

Volunteering Australia and our State and Territory Peak partners are hosting an event at Australian Parliament House next Tuesday 14 February. Representatives of Volunteer Support Services will join us to meet with decision makers about the work they do and the impact that it is having in helping the Government to achieve its goal of building strong and resilient communities. “The event will also be an opportunity for the volunteering sector to raise our concerns directly with politicians, including Minister Christian Porter and Shadow Assistant Minister Louise Pratt, about the new Strong and Resilient Communities grants program and the value that volunteering support services offer,” Ms Picone said.

Over 20 years of Mitchelton Meals on Wheels service, Ailsa Wright – Mitchelton

2 February 2017

A devoted member of the Mitchelton Meals on Wheels who has been involved with the organisation for over twenty years has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Ailsa Wright has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award for her enduring dedication to delivering food to people who struggle with tasks such as grocery shopping or cooking.

Ailsa's contribution was recognised by being nominated by Tim Mander MP, State Member for Everton.

Mr Tander said “For eighteen years she was there every day, opening and running the kitchen, and coordinating and supervising the operation. She has been a member of the Management Committee for fifteen years and is on the fundraising sub-committee.”

“She has impacted the lives of countless people, through her organisation and practical work. The lives of many in the local community have been bettered through her service.”

“She will always do what is necessary to complete a task, without consideration of whether it is her responsibility or not - simply for the benefit of those around her.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations in Queensland. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Mentor for young men, Alasdair Hughes – Brisbane

2 February 2017

An inspirational young man who joined the Australian Navy Cadets unit as soon as he was able at the age of 13, has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Alasdair Hughes quickly displayed the qualities of leadership and progressed through the ranks taking on more and more responsibility.

He extended his outreach to the local army and air force cadets unit by working on developing joint activities and a tri-service cadet band. All while attending high school and working through some significant family difficulties.

“During our time together I was inspired by his maturity, tenacity, honesty and loyalty, he gave tirelessly of himself and his time for no reward apart from seeing the development of young people,” said Mr Mingramm, who was his previous supervisor at the Australian Navy Cadets.

“There are in excess of 400 young individuals who actively benefited from Alasdair's tutorage, training, comfort and guidance. As a senior cadet he had direct responsibility of 50+ young cadets to mentor and protect and he did this with a passion.”

Youth suicide is a major issue today and by recognising the stresses and providing an avenue for venting and someone to care, such tragedy can be averted.

Mr Mingramm said “I recall on several occasions Alasdair seeking refuge in my presence in tears, emotionally drained as he provided guidance and solace to his contemporaries. He unselfishly would listen, comfort and guide without judging and help these troubled youth to seek assistance or work with staff in managing situations.”

“Over the 35 years that I have been involved in volunteering across Australia in many segments I have yet to see any youth member who displays the maturity of commitment as displaced by this young man.”

Alasdair is currently working in Community Service sector providing support in house to the elderly, is a staff member of the Australian Navy Cadets and is actively working to secure a role in the Royal Australian Navy as an Officer.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Share the Dignity Limited, Alesia Wrotecki – Queensland

2 February 2017

A passionate woman, who joined Share The Dignity Limited charity when it was in its first year, has been nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Alesia Wrotecki was literally on call 24/7 during the month leading up to a campaign, called #itsinthebag, and the month of the collection which was November, so busy times all around and she never faltered,” said Ms Vlismas who works with her.

Share The Dignity believe that sanitary items should be a right not a privilege. The organisation was founded to help the many homeless women and women in domestic violence shelters who have to face unthinkable indignities during their monthly period.

Their #itsinthebag program started on the realisation that society seems to manage the needs of children at Christmas, ensuring they're cared for and made to feel special, but the same can't always be said for those women who put the needs of others before their own. Share The Dignity wanted to make them feel special. So they asked Australians to donate a handbag they no longer used, fill it with items that would make a woman feel special and even pop a thoughtful note into the bag to show her that someone cares and that she matters.

“When we started the #itsinthebag program in 2015 we had about 950 charities nationally in our database, at the end of 2016 we had over 1,500. So Alesia worked very hard to find out if they would like to accept donations, how many, where they were based and then match it up with a volunteer and organise the delivery,” commended Ms Vlismas.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble and she responded to requests quickly and professionally.”

Alesia is a mum of three children aged 16, 9 and 7, works full time and volunteers in the role of Queensland Coordinator for the #itsinthebag campaign.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

Red Cross & Shepard Aged Care volunteer, Beverly Burnett – Brisbane

2 February 2017

A charity worker has been nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards for her role at the Red Cross and at Good Shepard Aged Care facility.

Beverly Burnett, 78, has been nominated in the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award category for her dedication and ongoing involvement in caring for others.

Ms McRobbie, who collaborates with Red Cross, said “For well over 15 years Bev has dedicated her life to providing friendship to our most vulnerable community pioneers in aged care homes. Bev visits and chats or gently massages hands allowing touch to be part of their lives.”'

Beverly also received an emergency service medal from Queensland Governor for her commitment for being there for community members in times of disaster, providing her ears to just listen.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations in Queensland. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

TransitCare volunteers, Bill & Elaine Pearton – Logan & Brisbane South

2 February 2017

An enthusiastic and passionate couple has been nominated for the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award after over 15 years of volunteering for TransitCare in Logan and Brisbane South.

Both Bill and Elaine Pearton, 75, are community service focused people considered reliable, dedicated and always ready to assist.

“Elaine's clients may be blind or in a wheelchair so they are unable to read labels or reach items on shelves. Elaine takes them to the shops and helps clients with their shopping then takes them home and puts the shopping away for them,” said Ms Campbell who works with the couple.

“Bill drives clients who may otherwise not get out because they don't have any family or they are transport deprived and socially isolated,” said Ms Campbell. “None of these people would be able to get out and about without Bill and Elaine's help.”

“Although they are both in their 70's, they are full of life and enjoy dancing regularly. Their acts of kindness keep people active in their communities and help them live independently in their own homes.”

“All our clients are extremely happy with the services they receive from Elaine and Bill. When they are unable to transport clients on a Saturday for whatever reason, Bill is so apologetic to his clients, even although he is doing this for no remuneration.”

“They are both still volunteering with TransitCare and are our longest serving volunteers.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations close on 31 March 2017. Recipients will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May 2017.

What defines an emergency volunteer?

2 February 2017

It sounds like a simple question but it’s not an easy one to answer.

Volunteering Queensland and the RFBAQ are taking on the challenge to clearly describe the important work 110,000 unpaid emergency volunteers from organisations such as Rural Fire Brigades, Coast Guards, SES, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Ambulance First Responders and other unsung heroes do across Queensland.

The definition, a first for our state, has the potential to help the Queensland Government and local government authorities determine how they allocate resources to effectively support the state’s emergency volunteers.

As a part of this work, Volunteering Queensland and the RFBAQ will consult with other groups and investigate widely before sharing their findings and insights.

“There are currently close to six million volunteers across Australia, of which 980,000 are Queenslanders,” Volunteering Queensland CEO Mara Basanovic said.

“Within volunteering there are some sub-groups such as emergency volunteers that are not clearly defined.

“Emergency volunteers are a critical group providing a specific level of service and support to their communities and to our state, not only in times of crisis, but every day.

“Emergency volunteers and spontaneous volunteers who step forward to help at times of emergency, whether individually or as members of existing community groups, are cohorts that have not been clearly defined, may currently not be as well supported as they could be, and most importantly are invaluable resources that need to be well-managed and sustained so that they can do their vital work.”

Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland General Manager Justin Choveaux said “it was an honour to help clarify the definition, which was first raised as an issue in the RFBAQ’s push to roll out an Emergency Volunteer Respect Act in Queensland.”

“This will help establish the groups of emergency volunteers that are represented and included under the proposed Emergency Volunteer Respect Act when it is drafted,” he said.

Queensland Volunteering Awards 2017 now open for nominations

31 January 2017

Nominations are open for the second year of the annual Queensland Volunteering Awards.

The awards acknowledge the inspiring individuals and groups who epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute connects and strengthens communities.

This year sees the addition of two new categories: Volunteer of the Year and Excellence in Volunteer Management.

Other prestigious categories include: Youth Volunteering, Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering, Volunteering Impact and Corporate Volunteering.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic said the awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by over 980,000 volunteers across the state.

“The awards promote the vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Nominations are open now until the 31 March 2017. Nominate today at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Volunteer Support Services: Building strong & resilient communities

24 January 2017

Volunteering Australia has made a 2017-18 Federal Pre-Budget Submission including a series of recommendations to further strengthen the Government’s commitment to volunteering, whilst also greatly strengthening the work of the sector to build strong and resilient communities.

Volunteering continues to play a role central to our identity as a nation, with 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population volunteering, making an estimated annual contribution of $290 billion to our economic and social good. Volunteers are an integral part of the social capital of strong and resilient communities.

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer, Ms Adrienne Picone said that the volunteering sector in Australia currently faces a period of significant change and uncertainty as the Government prepares to review the primary source of funding for volunteer support services, the Department of Social Services’ Strengthening Communities Grants program.

“This review follows significant feedback from the sector reflecting our concerns around the future of this funding” Ms Picone said. “We need to ensure longer-term funding is provided to foster greater certainty and resilience in local place-based volunteer support services.”

“Volunteer support services promote, resource and support volunteering in local communities across Australia. They provide infrastructure in communities to lead, enable and build capacity to recruit and retain volunteers in a wide variety of organisations and services. The role of volunteer support services in connecting and empowering local communities is vital now, more so than ever. For the first time in almost twenty years, the number of people formally volunteering in Australia was reported as declining in 2014, down to 31% from 36% in 2012. Volunteers are also being asked to support the work of the Government and its policy priorities in more and increasingly innovative ways including supporting the NDIS.”

“The Government must continue to fund volunteer support services and other volunteer management programs in recognition of the far-reaching contribution that they make to building strong and resilient Australian communities” said Ms Picone. “Responsibility for the oversight of volunteering should also return to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in acknowledgement that volunteering touches every section of Australian society including, but not limited to education, emergency services, sport and recreation, arts and heritage as well as the social services.”

“One of the Government’s core priorities has been the generation of jobs and growth to lead more Australians into gainful employment. There is a clear established link between volunteering and the opportunity to gain paid employment, both for volunteers and for employers, and investing in well-structured volunteering programs is a demonstrable strategy toward encouraging job growth.”

“Volunteering Australia is eager to work with the Government to ensure that the generosity of the Australian community as volunteers continues to be celebrated and supported. With the Government’s support through ongoing funding to empower important programs like the Department of Social Services Strengthening Communities Grants, we can continue to deliver place-based local volunteer support services to connect potential volunteers with opportunities to give back in their communities. This in turn can support the Government’s priorities in delivering jobs growth, disability services, emergency services, and an endless list of other vital community programs” Ms Picone concluded.

The Volunteering Australia submission outlines 13 proposed budget measures and is endorsed by the seven State and Territory volunteering peak bodies.

Download the full submission


2016 

Volunteering Australia announces the appointment of new CEO

27 October 2016

Volunteering Australia (VA) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer for the national peak body. 

Board President, Tim Jackson, today announced the appointment of Ms Adrienne Picone to take on the role after the current CEO Brett Williamson finishes in December. 

Mr Jackson said, “After a very comprehensive recruitment process, the Volunteering Australia Board is pleased to secure Adrienne for the role. Adrienne has been CEO of Volunteering Tasmania for 7 years and has been a great contributor to many significant Volunteering Tasmania and Volunteering Australia initiatives. Adrienne has extensive knowledge, management and leadership experience in the community and volunteering sector.”

Adrienne believes her knowledge and experience working as the CEO of Volunteering Tasmania holds her in good stead leading the national peak body.

Ms Picone will take over from Brett Williamson who has been in the position for just over 3 years. In July, Brett announced his intention to return home to his family base Brisbane.

“In welcoming Adrienne to the important role the Board also certainly wishes to acknowledge and thank Brett for his tireless and effective contributions to Volunteering Australia and volunteering during his tenure,” Mr Jackson said.

The appointment of Adrienne is the next stage in VA's journey, one that began just over 3 years ago, with the relocation of VA headquarters from Melbourne to Canberra.

Mr Jackson said, “We have hosted 2 successful National Conferences, the 2014 World Volunteer Conference, reviewed the definition of volunteering, completed the 2016 State of Volunteering Report, updated the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement and grown the annual National Volunteer Week celebrations. Just as importantly, Volunteering Australia has fostered extremely collaborative work with the State and Territory volunteering peaks, government and the broader sector.”

“Volunteering Australia has also undertaken a review of its Strategic Plan which aims to build on the foundations laid over recent years.”

“These are exciting times for Volunteering Australia and the volunteering sector as a whole,” Mr Jackson said.

Ms Picone, who is currently travelling to participate in the IAVE World Volunteer Conference in Mexico said she is delighted to be entrusted with the role at Volunteering Australia and helping to advance volunteerism.

Queensland Mental Health Week a chance to consider volunteering

9 October 2016

A recent study has found a “strong positive association between volunteering and both physical and mental health.” 

Conducted between 1991 and 2008 by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the study utilised the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) to determine whether volunteering had an influence on the well-being of 5000 households.

The study’s findings are significant during Queensland Mental Health Week (QMHW) which runs from the 9th to the 15th of October.

Although the findings indicated those volunteers aged between 40 and 80 received the best scores on the GHQ, all of those who volunteered frequently, infrequently and rarely scored better than those who never volunteered.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Mara Basanovic said the mental health benefits associated with volunteering are a key motivation for many people.

“Ninety-five percent of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of well-being,” Ms. Basanovic said.

“A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activities.”

“Volunteering improves self-esteem and confidence. It helps people make new friends to combat social isolation. It offers a sense of achievement and purpose.”

These benefits are worth considering alongside the QMHW theme: Value Mental Health.

QMHW gives the community an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect upon mental health, take action to highlight the importance of mental well-being, reduce stigma, and celebrate the service of mental health workers.

Ms Basanovic went on recognise the contribution of those volunteers working in mental health settings.

“There are over 980,000 volunteers across Queensland, many of whom are advancing understanding of and support for mental health. We thank them for their significant contribution.”

Take on a role in your local community, search volunteering opportunities at volunteeringqld.org.au

Volunteering Australia's CEO Changes

22 August 2016

Volunteering Australia’s President, Tim Jackson, today announced that Brett Williamson OAM has advised his intention to resign as CEO of Volunteering Australia, effective 1 December 2016.

Mr Jackson said, “It is with great regret that Volunteering Australia has accepted Brett’s resignation. In his 3 years as CEO, Brett has done an outstanding job in building Volunteering Australia’s reputation, outputs and fostering a strong collaborative culture within the volunteering network as well as strengthening relationships with the sector and government.”

Mr Williamson said, “It’s been an absolute privilege to be part of a team so totally committed to growing volunteering and civic participation in Australia.

“This has been a very difficult personal decision, but I am looking forward to returning home to be with my family in Queensland on a permanent basis.

“Right now however, there are many strategic and operational priorities which require my and Volunteering Australia’s attention over the next couple of months before I finish up,” said Mr Williamson.

Mr Jackson said, “The Volunteering Australia Board is very appreciative of Brett’s advance notice of his resignation and will shortly finalise arrangements regarding finding a replacement for Brett.”

Volunteering emerges as Campaign Priority this Federal Election

24 June 2016

Volunteering Australia is pleased to see volunteering become part of the campaign discussion this Federal Election. We welcome any dialogue which results in the role of volunteers being publicly recognised and more highly valued.

That’s why, this election campaign, we’ve asked every candidate for federal election across Australia, in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to take our Volunteering Australia pledge and Vote for Volunteering.

We are grateful to the dozens of candidates who have already taken the pledge and will Vote for Volunteering this election. However, we note that we are yet to receive any pledges from the Liberal or National Parties, and just one candidate pledge from the Australian Labor Party.

Given that the Prime Minister and both major parties have raised the value of volunteering as an election priority in recent days, we look forward to seeing them commit to the goals outlined by Australia’s most senior peak body for volunteering by taking the Volunteering Australia Vote for Volunteering pledge.

The Vote for Volunteering pledge reads:

“I acknowledge that volunteering supports the work of the federal government through the delivery of core programs, making a significant contribution to the Australian economy and society. I further acknowledge that the delivery of successful volunteering programs requires adequate funding that must keep pace with the growth in demand. I am concerned by reports that the number of volunteers in Australia is decreasing and believe Government must show the leadership required to encourage more people into volunteering. I pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations if elected on July 2.”

The Vote for Volunteering pledge outlines the following priorities for the next Federal Government:

  • A new National Volunteering Strategy that is non-partisan and developed in partnership with Volunteering Australia and other relevant sectors
  • A commitment to increased federal funding to volunteering that is managed sustainably, consistently and transparently, and that is allocated as a result of independent research and collaboration with the sector in the form of a Productivity Commission inquiry
  • An acknowledgement that the work of volunteering crosses all portfolios of the Government, and must be administered accordingly
  • An increase in support for volunteering in areas with critical gaps, such as aged care, disability services, emergency management and youth.

You can read a full list of candidates who have taken the Vote for Volunteering pledge here.

Candidates can take the pledge to Vote for Volunteering here and share their pledge using the hashtag, #Vote4Volunteering.

Candidates asked to pledge to Vote for Volunteering this Federal Election

16 June 2016

Vote for Volunteering, Volunteering Australia’s Federal Election Platform, was launched today. Volunteering Australia is asking candidates to pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations if elected on July 2.

Brett Williamson OAM, CEO, Volunteering Australia said, “Volunteering in Australia contributes an estimated 743 million hours of time to our community and $290 billion in economic value.”

“Volunteers and volunteer managers work across every aspect of Australian society: from health services, to sport and recreation, and emergency services; from looking after our libraries, to looking after our pets; from caring for disadvantaged people and the elderly, to caring for our environment.”

“But just like Australia, the way that we volunteer is changing. In 2014, the number of Australians volunteering dropped for the first time in 20 years; yet Volunteering Australia’s recent State of Volunteering Report found that 86 per cent of organisations don’t have as many volunteers as they need.”

Volunteering Australia is asking all candidates in this federal election to take the following pledge and Vote for Volunteering:

This Federal Election, I’m taking the pledge to Vote for Volunteering

I acknowledge that volunteering supports the work of the federal government through the delivery of core programs, making a significant contribution to the Australian economy and society. I further acknowledge that the delivery of successful volunteering programs requires adequate funding that must keep pace with the growth in demand. I am concerned by reports that the number of volunteers in Australia is decreasing and believe Government must show the leadership required to encourage more people into volunteering. I pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations if elected on July 2.

What this looks like to the sector:

  • A new National Volunteering Strategy that is non-partisan and developed in partnership with Volunteering Australia and other relevant sectors
  • A commitment to increased federal funding to volunteering that is managed sustainably, consistently and transparently, and that is allocated as a result of independent research and collaboration with the sector in the form of a Productivity Commission inquiry
  • An acknowledgement that the work of volunteering crosses all portfolios of the Government, and must be administered accordingly
  • An increase in support for volunteering in areas with critical gaps, such as aged care, disability services, emergency management and youth.

“By taking the pledge to Vote for Volunteering, candidates are making the commitment if elected to support the continued growth of volunteering and stronger, healthier, more resilient communities,” Mr Williamson said.

Candidates can take the pledge and Vote for Volunteering now at volunteeringaustralia.org/vote4volunteering and all candidates who pledge to Vote for Volunteering will be listed on our website.

Let’s celebrate living a life with meaning this National Volunteer Week

9 May 2016

Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week 2016, which runs from 9-15 May. In 2016 we continue to celebrate the theme 'Give Happy, Live Happy' which, explores the research that shows volunteers live happier and healthier lives.

Associate Professor Dr Thomas Nielsen, University of Canberra, advocates a ‘Curriculum of Giving’, his research showing that giving and service to others increases wellbeing and academic outcomes in students — something much needed in a western world with high youth depression and suicide rates.

Dr Nielsen said, “Sustainable wellbeing comes not from money or consumerism, but from having meaningful happiness in our lives. There is one shared denominator for what people across cultures and religions report as giving them meaningful happiness in their lives: being something for others.”

“We now know that volunteering is not just good for our physical health, but for our psychological and emotional health too. Giving is one of the strongest predictors of increasing our health and happiness,” said Dr Nielsen.

Brett Williamson, OAM, CEO Volunteering Australia, said the theme 'Give Happy, Live Happy' celebrates that there is so much more to volunteering than simply giving your time and skills to help others.

“This National Volunteer Week we say thank you to the six million Australian volunteers and celebrate that they are living healthier, happier and more meaningful lives by volunteering.”

“Volunteering is a core part of the community and plays a critical role in Australian society, and in Australia’s economy. 57% of staff in volunteer involving organisations are volunteers, and they form a formidable workforce powering many essential community, environmental, sporting, welfare, emergency services, education and cultural services and supports.”

Thousands of volunteer involving organisations will say thank you to their volunteers this week with breakfasts, morning teas, sausage sizzles, garden parties and awards ceremonies to be held across the country. For the first time Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) will be held during National Volunteer Week on Wednesday 11 May. The State Emergency Services (SES) is calling for people to wear orange to say thank you to the 40,000 SES members in over 1,000 locations nationally for their service to their communities.

“The 2016 State of Volunteering in Australia report found that 86% of volunteer-involving organisations need more volunteers. So, if you have ever thought of volunteering now’s your chance! Make a pledge to volunteer this National Volunteer Week and you too can 'Give Happy, Live Happy'. Over 10,000 volunteer opportunities are waiting for you at govolunteer.com.au,” Mr Williamson said.

Beyond Bank Australia’s General Manager Community Development Peter Rutter said Beyond Bank is proud to again partner with Volunteering Australia for National Volunteer Week.

“Beyond Bank recognises the critical role that volunteers play in our communities, and we are honoured to support them through our relationship with Volunteering Australia.”

“National Volunteer Week provides a great opportunity for us all to say thanks to the many volunteers who help make our communities stronger, and let them know their efforts and commitment are appreciated – it’s also an appropriate time to encourage more people to get involved,” said Mr Rutter.

National Volunteering Conference provides solutions for the future of volunteering & society

8 April 2016

Today was the conclusion to the 2016 National Volunteering Conference. Our final keynote for the Conference Associate Professor Thomas Nielsen, University of Canberra left delegates with an understanding of why their role as a volunteer manager is key to creating meaningful happiness in peoples’ lives.

Thomas advocates that giving to others, or volunteering, is key to solving the most pressing problems of our times. As the voice behind the 2016 National Volunteer Week campaign Dr Nielsen reminds us all that volunteering is: a healthy lifestyle choice; a true community builder; one of the strongest predictors we have of increasing our health and happiness; and that volunteer involving organisations are the vehicle for people to volunteer, give and have a meaningful activity in their lives.

“Engaging in generous and altruistic behaviour makes you want to be more generous and altruistic. Volunteering, health, and happiness together create a positive, reinforcing loop: the more you volunteer, the healthier you become, the more you want to volunteer. Volunteering is a true community builder in that sense,” Dr Nielsen said.

Over 700 delegates met in Canberra, 6-8 April, at the principal Australian forum for not-for-profit leaders, volunteer managers and policy contributors to come together to advance volunteering.

Robyn Moore set the scene with an inspiring opening keynote that made delegates both laugh and cry.

Brett Williamson OAM, CEO Volunteering Australia said the 2016 National Volunteering Conference was a very successful event leaving the 700 delegates with the tools to build the future of volunteering through knowledge, networks, leadership and innovation. “Volunteering Australia would like to thank Volunteering ACT for hosting the event, all the Conference supporters including Principal Conference Partner Beyond Bank Australia and of course all the delegates for without them we couldn’t hold such a great event,” Mr Williamson said.

Over the three-day event delegates gained new skills, learned about innovative programs, and connected with subject experts in an engaging and relevant program. Keynote speakers included Kylee Bates, John Brogden, Brenden Nielson AO and Tobi Johnson, USA.

The panel sessions were very popular tackling the topics ‘Why volunteers volunteer?’ and ‘International forces shaping the volunteering sector in Australia’. Young Australians of the Year 2016, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett were also in attendance and held a packed out Networking Lounge.

Another highlight was ‘The Great Debate: Which generation makes the best volunteer?’ facilitated by the very entertaining Jean Kittson with Generation X coming out on top.

In his closing speech Mr Williamson announced the 2018 National Volunteering Conference will be held in Sydney.

Volunteering Australia to take action to futureproof volunteering

6 April 2016

86% of volunteer involving organisations are struggling to get the volunteers they need, with volunteers deterred by factors such as personal expense, red tape and a lack of flexibility, according to a report launched today by Volunteering Australia at the National Volunteering Conference in Canberra.

The 2016 State of Volunteering in Australia report, compiled by Volunteering Australia with the assistance of PwC, analyses the findings from a national survey of 2,304 volunteers, volunteer involving organisations and for the first time corporates.

Brett Williamson OAM, CEO of Volunteering Australia said: “The primary aim of the report is to capture important details of the trends, demographics, challenges and successes of volunteering and civic participation – critical to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of Australia and Australians.

“This report takes on special significance given recent ABS figures stating that the rates of formal volunteering have declined for the first time in 20 years. Now is the time for the government, corporates and volunteering sector to invest in the future of volunteering by being innovative in the ways we attract and support volunteers.

“Whilst the report’s findings are generally encouraging, with 99% of current volunteers indicating they intend to continue to volunteer in the future, the downside is that 86% of volunteer involving organisations state that they need more volunteers and resources.

“The evidence also suggests that people are deterred from volunteering because of the lack of flexibility, personal expenses and red-tape burdens,” Mr Williamson said.

In 2015 Volunteering Australia announced a new contemporary and inclusive Definition of Volunteering: ‘Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.’ In light of this new definition, the State of Volunteering in Australia report investigated informal volunteering for the first time.

“46% of respondents have undertaken informal volunteering, predominantly by taking care of someone in the community. These grassroots connections between people are essential to our civil society – one finding has suggested that we should look at creating a platform where people can connect to help each other in informal ways.

"The findings of this report will strategically influence the work of Volunteering Australia and its State and Territory peaks, to futureproof the volunteering sector. The National Volunteering Conference provides the perfect opportunity to start these conversations and develop key actions for the future.

A key focus will be on increasing the advocacy from Volunteering Australia to reduce red tape and barriers to volunteers, promoting the best practice in the sector through the use of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement and looking at the options to enhance our digital platforms.” Mr Williamson said.

At the Conference Mr Williamson outlined all of the key findings of the report.

Charity shop volunteer nominated for award

30 March 2016

A Nambour charity worker has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards for her role in the Neighbours Aid Community Stores (NACS).

Fran Newman, 73, has been nominated in the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award category for her involvement with the establishment of the first NACS shop in the community and her ongoing involvement on the board of NACS and running the shop.

Mrs Newman went on to set up four other NACS stores and has also conducted self-funded working trips to NACS projects in Africa where she worked with children and painted classrooms in schools.

Since retiring, Mrs Newman has continued volunteering in the Nambour store two days a week, sorting clothes and restocking the shop.

“Fran has modelled a strong work ethic and set of values for the young work for the dole and other volunteers in the store,” said Susie Farley of Neighbours Aid Community Stores. “Her honesty, integrity, hard work and desire to always strive for excellence in dealing with other volunteers and customers, is a model for Australian values.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations in Queensland. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards are now closed. The winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

RSPCA volunteer nominated for award

30 March 2016

A passionate and enthusiastic young animal lover has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards for her commitment to providing animal care through the RSPCA over the last several years.

Catherine Perna, 25, is studying veterinary science at the University of Queensland (UQ) and regularly assists her local RSPCA with pick-ups and drop offs of rescued animals, vet nursing and general animal care. She also fundraises for the RSPCA.

Ms Perna also volunteers her time and expertise to young students by mentoring and being involved in a number of UQ student organisations and science associations.

She has always been actively involved in her community through her volunteer participation in special interest groups at schools, school sports teams and local sporting teams. Ms Perna was club captain for Redcliffe Little Athletics where she volunteered her time and skills and provided a positive and excellent role model for her fellow athletes.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards are now closed. The winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Inspiring young woman nominated for Volunteering Awards

28 March 2016

A young Toowoomba-based woman who has devoted herself to the improvement of other young females has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards after 11 years of volunteering for the Queensland Country Women's Association (QCWA) Young Leaders program.

As the state leader of the QCWA Young Leaders, 24-year-old Serenette Crombie has helped to create a platform for young women to develop their leadership skills, network with people from different industries and form valuable friendships.

“The young leaders program has allowed myself and many other girls to develop public speaking skills and improve self-confidence, and it has given us the chance to network with like-minded people,” said Ms Crombie.

“There was a definite need for an enterprising leadership group — to give hope to the young members and provide a strong influence over their futures.”

Ms Crombie, who joined the QCWA when she was 12, volunteers 30 hours of her time each week to help the organisation to remain relevant by engaging members of her community and building key relations.

It has also given her the opportunity to meet President Barak Obama and speak with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their visit to Brisbane. She has also been invited to Government House in Brisbane.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Serenette is an inspiring example of how young girls can support each other to grow into confident and competent women increasing their chances to shine as professionals and individuals,” said Ms Basanovic.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016. 

Nominate 70 years of service to Seafarers Brisbane for the Queensland Volunteering Awards

21 March 2016

A dedicated Fitzgibbon resident who has given 70 years of continuous service to The Mission to Seafarers Brisbane has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Marcia Scholes, 88, has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award for her active support of The Mission to Seafarers Brisbane since 1946. During this time she has been a committee member for 30 years, done fundraising, given presentations on the Mission and taken an active role in the functions and activities of the organisation.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledged the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Marcia is an exemplary woman who has changed the lives of many people both in Brisbane as well as with International Seafarers who have visited the port of Brisbane. Marcia has also been an incredible advocate of volunteering and the positive impact it has on people’s lives,” said Ms. Basanovic.

“Marcia understands that giving back to the community through volunteering is not only the right thing to do, but by helping others you are investing in their future,” said Mr. David Ellis, Captain at The Mission to Seafarers Brisbane. “Mrs Marcia Scholes is a wonderful loving, giving and caring person.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Volunteer in policing nominated for award

21 March 2016

A woman who has given more than 10,000 hours to keeping her local community safe has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards in the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering category.

Cecelia Serchen, 60, has been a part of Volunteering in Policing (VIP) for over 10 years. She is also the secretary of the Pine Rivers Crime Stoppers Committee and secretary for Community Supporting Police (CSP) for over five years.

During her role as the Secretary of the Pine Rivers Crime Stoppers Committee, she worked with many community organisations to highlight the Crime Stoppers message and organise community events.

She works two days a week as a VIP working at the Pine Rivers Crime Prevention Office and creates a safer community by phone or face-to-face support. She also attends all of the community engagement events and provides the community with crime prevention advice.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award acknowledges the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Cecelia is a good example of how people can make a positive contribution to the community. She volunteered her time to help police customer service, reduce crime and enhance community safety," said Ms Basanovic.

Volunteering Queensland has launched its inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards, recognising those who have made a positive impact through volunteering in a variety of sectors and volunteering types.

The awards were launched by Volunteering Queensland’s patron, His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, with winners to be announced and awarded at a ceremony during National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May 2016 across four categories:

  • Youth Volunteering Award
  • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
  • Volunteering Impact Award
  • Corporate Volunteering Award

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016.

SES volunteer nominated for award

21 March 2016

A devoted member of the State Emergency Services (SES) who has been involved with the organisation since its inception in 1975 has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

John Lee, 79, has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award for his enduring dedication to providing support and assistance to hundreds of Queenslanders during cyclones, storms, floods, fires, virus outbreaks and searches for missing people.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

"John is a wonderful example of how people across Queensland are committed to something they care about and are determined to make a real difference in their communities especially when people need assistance,” said Ms Basanovic.

Volunteering Queensland launched its inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards, recognising those who have made a positive impact through volunteering in a variety of sectors and volunteering types.

The awards were launched by Volunteering Queensland’s patron, His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, with winners to be announced and awarded at a ceremony during National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May 2016 across four categories:

  • Youth Volunteering Award
  • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
  • Volunteering Impact Award
  • Corporate Volunteering Award

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016.

Queensland Maritime Museum pioneer nominated for Volunteering Awards

21 March 2016

A Queensland Maritime Museum pioneer who has volunteered at the organisation for the past 42 years has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Dorothy Kirby, 80, has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award for volunteering many thousands of hours of her time since the very early days when the museum began operating.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledged the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“Dorothy is a wonderful example of how people across Queensland are involved with something they care about and making a real difference to their communities,” said Ms Basanovic.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Dorothy’s efforts have been instrumental in helping the museum grown into one of Brisbane’s premier tourist attractions,” said Alan Bibby, of the Queensland Maritime Museum Association.

“Dorothy has volunteered in several roles from mowing lawns in her younger days, to managing the retail shop and maintaining the association accounts.” said Mr Bibby.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Rural fire brigade volunteer nominated for award

21 March 2016

Another dedicated volunteer and active member of the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Greg Holder has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award for his many diverse roles at the organisation including chairman, fire-fighter and dressing up as Blazer Bear for community events.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledged the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“Greg’s commitment, passion and ‘can do’ attitude is simply overwhelming and heart-warming. Organisations like the South Nanango Fire Brigade wouldn’t be what they are now if it weren’t for the passion of volunteers like Greg who contribute selflessly,” said Ms. Basanovic.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Greg has helped out at Recruitment Day, our local markets standing at the gates welcoming members of the community and taking donations,” said Amber Goldsmith-Black, member of the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade.

“He has helped at local carnivals with the fire simulator and attends the schools to assist in teaching the children about our vehicles, and gear and what we do as volunteers of the rural fire service,” said Ms Goldsmith-Black.

Mr Holder’s nomination follows Tracy Goldsmith’s nomination for the same award earlier this month. Ms Goldsmith is also a volunteer at the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016. 

Showcase in the Park nominated for Volunteering Awards

14 March 2016

A Hervey Bay Arts Council event, which is having a positive, measurable and sustainable social impact on the local community, has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Showcase in the Park is held on the first Sunday of each month and offers a variety of musical entertainment, which encourages people to get outdoors, socialise, enjoy music, dance and support local markets. The event has been nominated for the Volunteering Impact Award.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Showcase in the Park demonstrates what a significant influence an entertainment event can have on connecting a community and encouraging local economic development,” said Ms Basanovic.

The stall holders at Showcase in the Park cover the costs of having musicians perform or they run an open mic to help promote self-esteem within the youth who get up and perform on stage.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Devoted school volunteer nominated for award

14 March 2016

An inspirational woman, whose commitment and active support for Landsborough State School outlasted two generations, has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Judith Dolan’s involvement with the primary school began when her own children started there and continues despite her last grandchild leaving the school five years ago. She has been nominated in the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Awards category.

Ms Dolan currently operates the uniform shop three days a week and volunteers in the school tuckshop two days a week. She is also the first to put her hand up to volunteer at any other school fundraising events such as discos and Election Day BBQs.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award acknowledges the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers and organisations across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals and organisations. They inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Judith’s inspirational track record of volunteering encapsulates what volunteering means and the relevance and impact it has on our community,” said Ms Basanovic.

“We don't know what we would do without Judith as the volunteer uniform shop convenor,” said Kiley Merola, staff member at Landsborough State School. “Also, our tuckshop simply would not be able to operate without Judith's help.

“She is the only regular volunteer who turns up to help every single tuckshop day and she's usually the first one there and last to leave,” said Ms Merola.

Also her assistance at hundreds of different fundraisers over the years has enabled the Landsborough State School P&C Association to raise vital funds to acquire new resources and improve the quality of education.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Ipswich bagpiper nominated for Volunteering Awards

14 March 2016

A devoted septuagenarian who has volunteered for the last 55 years for the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Donald MacSween, 73, has been nominated in the category of Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering for giving his time and skills to tutoring children and adults in the art of playing the bagpipes. He has been the Pipe Major for 30 years and the President of Thistle Pipe Band Association for at least 35 years.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledged the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Donald is unique and he is keeping up the tradition of pipe playing by attracting and teaching children the conventional Scottish art,” said Ms Basanovic.

“Donald is passionate about getting the message out to the younger generation,” said Katrina Stead, secretary of Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band. “We need to bring the younger generation through to continue the art of playing bagpipes and drums, that is why we do not charge for our piping lessons or tuition. Donald gives his time up on a daily basis to all things pipe bands.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Bowen Visitor Information Centre nominated for Volunteering Awards

14 March 2016

Bowen’s Visitor Information Centre has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards for its ongoing commitment to helping tourists and visitors explore the rich culture, heritage and attractions of Bowen.

The not-for-profit organisation, which is run by a group of innovative and passionate women and men, has been nominated for the Volunteering Impact Award.

According to Vanessa Stewart, a junior volunteer at the centre from a local high school, being involved with the Bowen Visitor Information Centre has taught her how to promote her culture, which has had a direct economic impact on her community.

Ms Stewart also said that the staff at the centre deserved recognition for devoting so much of their energy to mentoring the volunteers with genuine zeal and enthusiasm.

In order to provide an excellent service to tourists, the centre has trained their volunteers in how to welcome tourists while promoting the highlights of Bowen.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Queensland Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“The Bowen Visitor Information Centre is a wonderful example of how an organisation has the potential to promote tourism and make a difference to the local economy.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Rural fire volunteer nominated for Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award

7 March 2016

An enthusiastic and passionate woman has been nominated for a Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award after 25 years of volunteering for the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade.

Tracy Goldsmith is considered the heart and soul of the organisation where she runs fundraisers and community events, including Red Balloon Day and Yellow Ribbon Day. Ms Goldsmith also coordinates fire education awareness sessions in schools and childcare centres.

“Every brigade is screaming out for volunteers, we're all down on numbers,” said Ms Goldsmith who works hard to encourage new volunteers to join the brigade.

“Being part of the South Nanango Rural Fire Brigade means being part of a family more than anything else,” said Ms Goldsmith. “Even when the brigade faces tragedy, the good times overweight the bad bringing us closer as a family.”

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic, said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Tracy is an incredible symbol of commitment to her fellow firies and the young ones in her community. Thanks to Tracy’s hard work to educate children on fire safety, they are equipped to respond effectively in the event of fire. Volunteering is definitely about creating substantial impact."

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted on the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.

Domestic violence campaigner nominated for Volunteering Awards

7 March 2016

A passionate advocate for women and children, who suffer at the hands of a violent family member, has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards.

Nicolle Edwards founded RizeUp, which aims to educate, empower and end domestic violence. She has gathered a committed group of volunteers who help provide fully-furnished homes for families escaping domestic violence and offer school supplies to children forced to change schools.

“Everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by domestic violence and can make the changes necessary to shift the stigma and shame that surrounds it,” said Ms Edwards.

“Domestic violence thrives in silence so unless we shine the light on it and on the perpetrators who choose to use violence, power and control over their most vulnerable in the home, this situation is not going to improve and our society will continue to suffer.” said Ms Edwards.

RizeUp, which is based on the Gold Coast, relies on volunteers to offer practical assistance to women and children in need.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Nicolle is a wonderful example of how people across Queensland are getting involved with something they feel strongly about and making a real difference within their communities,” said Ms Basanovic.

 Volunteering Queensland has launched its inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards, recognising those who have made a positive impact through volunteering in a variety of sectors and volunteering types.

The awards were launched by Volunteering Queensland’s patron, His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, with winners to be announced and awarded at a ceremony during National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May 2016 across four categories:

  • Youth Volunteering Award
  • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
  • Volunteering Impact Award
  • Corporate Volunteering Award 

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016.

Nominate outstanding locals for the Queensland Volunteering Awards

29 February 2016

Volunteering Queensland has launched its inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards, recognising those who have made a positive impact through volunteering in a variety of sectors and volunteering types. 

The awards were launched by Volunteering Queensland’s patron, His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, with winners to be announced and awarded at a ceremony during National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May 2016 across four categories:

    • Youth Volunteering Award
    • Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award
    • Volunteering Impact Award
    • Corporate Volunteering Award 

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016.

Young wildlife warrior nominated for Volunteering Awards

22 February 2016

An inspirational Bribie Island teenager has been nominated for the inaugural Queensland Volunteering Awards due to her campaigning and fundraising for Australian wildlife.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan Lather has volunteered for five years organising fun runs and regular beach clean ups for the benefit of local wildlife and marine animals.

Tegan’s efforts have raised over $135,000 for local wildlife organisations, including Wildlife Emergency, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Queensland Koala Crusader and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Mara Basanovic said the Volunteering Awards acknowledge the extraordinary and valuable work done every day by thousands of volunteers across the state.

“These prestigious awards highlight and pay tribute to the caring individuals who inspire and epitomise the spirit of volunteerism through their compassion, commitment and hard work. The positive impact they contribute strengthens and connects their communities.”

“The awards also promote the enormous value and vital contribution of volunteering to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of Queensland.”

“Tegan is a wonderful example of how young people across Queensland are getting involved with something they care about and making a real difference to their communities and the environment,” said Ms Basanovic.

The Year 12 student is committed to her studies, has a blog, a part time job, and still manages to volunteer around 20-hours a week in an field that she is passionate about.

The young wildlife warrior is the driving force behind the Zoo Run events, which take place in zoos, aquariums or wildlife parks, to raise funds for specific charities.

Her most recent Zoo Run, held at Seaworld last October, raised almost $20,000 for the Sea World Rescue and Research Foundation.

Tegan has gone on to inspire other organisations to volunteer, fundraise and take care of local wildlife including Girl Guides and faith-based groups.

Do you know a deserving volunteer, volunteer program or organisation that has positively impacted the Queensland community? If so, why not nominate them for an award at volunteeringqld.org.au/awards.

Nominations for the Queensland Volunteering Awards close on 31 March 2016. Winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week which runs from 9 to 15 May 2016.


2015

Launch of the new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool

10 December 2015

Volunteering Australia’s new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool has been launched in celebration of International Volunteer Day, which was held on 5 December.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool provides organisations across Australia with an easy-to-use online self-assessment tool to work towards meeting the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement.

Brett Williamson OAM, Volunteering Australia CEO, said: “This is the critical next step in giving Volunteer Involving Organisations the means to measure their performance and achieve best practice, ultimately helping them to attract and retain volunteers.”

Organisations will use the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool to assess their organisation’s performance against the Standards, identify areas for development, and make improvements that will benefit both volunteers and the organisations they work with. The tool also includes workflow management features, templates to assist with volunteer management and an automatically generated plan for good practice.

“Volunteer Involving Organisations need to ensure they have systems in place to ensure a quality volunteer experience. The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool will assist them to fully implement these Standards by measuring their current performance and helping them work towards providing best practice in volunteer management by meeting the Standards,” said Mr Williamson.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool follows the release of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement, which were launched in May to mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week 2015. The Standards contain benchmarks specifically designed to help organisations attract, manage, recognise and retain volunteers, and to manage risk and safety with respect to volunteers.

The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool is a tailored version of Standards & Performance Pathways (SPP), a leading Australian online service for the completion of service and quality standards, compliance activities, and for managing risk and quality performance.

Further details are available at: National Standards for Volunteer Involvement Tool

A new definition of volunteering

3 August 2015

The definition of volunteering has been expanded for the first time in 20 years to recognise the new ways Australians give their time.

Definition of Volunteering 2015:

"Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain"

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer Brett Williamson said the new definition followed an extensive two year, nationwide consultation to understand what activities we considered as volunteering today.

“A lot has changed in 20 years, including how people volunteer,” Mr Williamson said.

“The new definition captures newer forms of volunteering such as online volunteering, spontaneous volunteering, corporate volunteering and social entrepreneurship.”

Mr Williamson noted the previous definition developed in 1996 was out-dated as it only recognised formal volunteering undertaken for not-for-profit organisations.

The old definition did not capture virtual volunteering, volunteering for private organisations nor did it include informal volunteering in the community.

“The new definition is broader, more inclusive and – for the first time – it recognises informal volunteering,” he said.

Mr Williamson said the changes in public policy, such as the Work for the Dole program, had also created grey areas around volunteering which needed to be cleared.

The new definition clarifies what civic participation activities are not considered volunteering: direct family responsibilities, compulsory internships or work experience, participation in Work for the Dole programs, court orders such as community service and compulsory volunteering as part of study are all excluded from the new Australian definition of volunteering.

“The new definition of volunteering in Australia makes clear that volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain,” Mr Williamson said.

“Volunteers make a huge contribution so we need to make sure it’s measured accurately and valued. The new definition will ensure a common understanding of what volunteering is, ultimately supporting the integrity of the work they do.”

“New ABS data shows volunteering in Australia is declining so we need to pause and ask ourselves, what does our nation call volunteering today and are we measuring the right things?”

The supporting explanatory notes for the definition will be re-assessed in six months and annually thereafter. Feedback can be directed to Volunteering Australia at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Information on the new definition of volunteering including explanatory notes and frequently asked questions is available at volunteeringaustralia.org

National week shines spotlight on Australia’s student volunteers

3 August 2015

Today marks the beginning of National Student Volunteer Week 2015, which runs from 3 - 9 August. This year with the theme challenge yourself, be the change, celebrate each other the week will promote, support and recognise student volunteering across Australia.

National Student Volunteer Week is an annual celebration to acknowledge the substantial contribution of time, energy and skill made by student volunteers. Events will be hosted by universities and schools nation-wide including volunteer expos, workshops, panels, networking sessions, fundraising drives, thank you events and volunteer projects that help local nonprofits.

Volunteering Australia CEO, Brett Williamson OAM, said engaging young people in meaningful volunteer work is a key priority for the volunteering sector at a national and local level.

“Providing students with opportunities to make a positive impact through volunteering enhances their student experience, it helps them with their personal and professional development and their career-aspirations,”

"Strengths that students bring to their volunteering include their diversity, creativity, enthusiasm, understanding of technology and their new, innovative ideas, which benefits nonprofits and in turn whole communities," Mr Williamson said.

Volunteering has become increasingly common among young Australians over recent years, with recent ABS findings indicating that the highest rates of volunteering were for youth aged 15-17 (42 per cent).

National Student Volunteer Week will support innovation in student volunteering with the release of a number of significant resources and best practice guides that will continue to build a culture of giving within Australian’s education sector.

Find out more about National Student Volunteer Week at nationalstudentvolunteerweek.org.au. Follow the week on social media #NSVW15.

Volunteering Australia is funded by the Department of Social Services to implement the National Student Volunteer Week project.

Are time poor Australians abandoning volunteering?

30 June 2015

New ABS data shows volunteering rates in Australia are declining for the first time in almost 20 years with 75% of people surveyed saying they feel rushed or pressed for time.

Results of the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014 General Social Survey released yesterday provide a snapshot of Australia’s progress on aspects of wellbeing, such as life satisfaction and community participation, and reports that volunteering in Australia has fallen by 5% since 2010.

Volunteering Australia CEO Brett Williamson said the rate of volunteering was a key indicator of healthy communities and any decline in community participation was troubling.

“It raises questions about whether our social capital is being eroded, and if it is, why is that happening and how can we reverse the trend?” Mr Williamson said.

“The ABS report shows that in 2014, 31% of Australians volunteered compared to 36% just four years ago.”

“The data shows Australians are increasingly time-poor with 45% of women and 36% of men saying they are always rushed or often pressed for time. When you’re time-poor, something has to give and for some people, it appears that is volunteering.”

“Despite the drop in overall numbers volunteering, Australians continue to be altruistic and to want to support their communities. The good news is that 5.8 million Australians over the age of 15 years generously spent 743 million hours volunteering across diverse activities in 2014. The ABS General Social Survey results reinforce how important it is to recognise and support people who give their time to help build safer and resilient communities. This is a huge contribution to our nation’s social and economic well-being.”

Mr Williamson said the ABS results show the fall in volunteering mirrors a decline in community participation across the board generally, including sport and participation in special interest groups, such as politics and professional associations.

“Volunteering Australia commends the ABS for conducting this vital research and analysis on a regular basis.”

“The ABS General Social Survey, in particular, is a key measure of wellbeing and community participation in Australia that does help inform Government and volunteering sector decisions and actions.”

“The next steps are for Governments at all levels to work with and support the volunteering sector to help remove barriers to volunteering, and for the volunteering sector to find ways to make volunteering easier and more accessible for time-poor Australians, as well as those groups which are registering lower volunteering rates.”

“The key is for all of us to work together to build our social capital through volunteering so we can learn to understand each other better, demonstrate our compassion and build a truly trusting, harmonious and cohesive Australian community.”

Call for abstracts & early bird registrations for the 2016 National Volunteering Conference

1 June 2015

Volunteering Australia is calling for innovative ideas to shape a strong volunteering sector.

‘We are inviting people to submit abstracts for the next National Volunteering Conference. We are looking for innovative ideas from practitioners to build a quality program that will provide delegates with strategies to future proof their volunteer workforce’ said Brett Williamson OAM, CEO of Volunteering Australia.

The conference will be held at the National Convention Centre Canberra from 6 – 8 April 2016 and is proudly sponsored by Beyond Bank Australia. The Conference is the principal Australian forum for not-for-profit leaders, volunteer managers, policy contributors and corporates to come together to build knowledge, innovation, networks and leadership to advance volunteering.

The Conference has also opened early bird registrations with an announcement of two accomplished keynote speakers: Dr Brendan Nelson and Susan J. Ellis.

Dr Brendan Nelson commenced as Director of the Australian War memorial in 2012 following an impressive career in leadership positions including: National President of the Australian Medical Association, Minister for Education, Science and Training and leader of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Susan J. Ellis is the President of Energize Inc., an international training, consulting, and publishing firm that specialises in volunteerism. She founded the Philadelphia-based company in 1977 and since then has assisted clients in 23 countries to start or expand volunteer efforts of all sorts.  

The 1 June open date gives delegates the opportunity to register prior to the end of the financial year.

Presenters are invited to submit abstracts under the four themes of: build knowledge, build innovation, build networks and build leadership. 

To register or submit an abstract, go to 2016nationalvolunteeringconference.com.au

Keeping community organisations on the political agenda

29 May 2015

Community led organisations from Barcaldine to Brisbane form the frontline in their communities when times are happy or hard. In a first, Volunteering Queensland and the Coalition of Community Boards have united to ensure the voice of grassroots organisations are heard with the launch of a unique position paper that asks governments to recognise and support the essential role local organisations play in nurturing resilient and real communities. The paper has two purposes, to request government support and to stimulate and contribute to dialogue in the community sector.

“Local, usually small volunteer led organisations, are often the groups that support individuals and families who are falling between the cracks,” said Mr Perry Hembury, CEO of Volunteering Queensland, “It’s their local knowledge, accessibility and connections that reduce isolation and build community by linking people to support systems they might not be able to access or know about.”

“Tragically many of these small organisations are at risk of closure or extreme downsizing due to reduced funding, and rationalisation gives them a hammering,” said Mr Hembury, “Yet, there is a real opportunity for Queensland to make sure that these external pressures don’t destroy the connections and safety nets small community organisations provide – hence our working with the Coalition of Community Boards to ensure the voices of these organisations remain on the agenda”.

Coalition of Community Boards spokesperson Dr Ann Ingamells said “Local community organisations are quite a different species from the national, large budget charities, and they perform a different role within the overall welfare system. If they flounder because of changing funding practices, it will be a loss to all concerned, and especially to local communities”.

“This paper is addressed to government because they are currently leading state-wide reform of community services”, said Dr Ingamells. “However, it is also an important document for all organisations in the sector to consider and discuss. We encourage other organisations, local councils, larger non-government organisations, and businesses to read and discuss this paper to add their voice to the future direction of our communities.”

To read the position paper or add your voice by making comments on it, visit volunteeringqld.org.au/communitycommons. You can also find out more about the Coalition of Community Boards at cocb.org.au

Queensland Governor joins Volunteering Queensland as Patron

11 May 2015

Volunteering Queensland has appointed His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland as Patron.

Mr de Jersey will be supporting and advocating Volunteering Queensland's work building the capacity of community, through effective, innovative and sustainable volunteering.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Perry Hembury, welcomed the patronage and looks forward to working together with the Governor to inspire Queenslanders to make a difference through social participation and civic engagement.

“It's an honour to have Mr de Jersey as our Patron and dedicated champion of our work with thousands of community groups and 1.2 million volunteers across our great state," Mr Hembury said.

“The Governor is a long-standing Queenslander who's been extensively involved in charitable endeavour and has a track record for recognising the remarkable efforts of volunteers,"

“We believe Mr de Jersey's patronage and support will help us to encourage even more Queenslanders to get involved in bringing about positive change."

Peak body Volunteering Queensland works to advance volunteering and develop innovative solutions with communities to address complex social issues.

Current focus areas include providing accredited training on volunteer management practice, supporting high school students to engage with their communities through volunteering and building community resilience to natural disasters.

What is volunteering in Australia today?

2 March 2015

The definition of volunteering in Australia is being reviewed to consider the new ways people give their time under a proposal released by Volunteering Australia.

Volunteering Australia CEO Brett Williamson said the definition of volunteering in Australia was developed almost 20 years ago (1996) and did not reflect the extent of volunteering today.

“A lot of volunteering that is common today simply didn’t exist 20 years ago,” Mr Williamson said.

Mr Williamson said the current definition only recognises formal volunteering undertaken for nonprofit organisations.

The narrow definition does not recognise aspects of virtual volunteering, social entrepreneurship, corporate volunteering, volunteering for government organisations such as museums nor does it cover informal volunteering in the community.

“The spirit of volunteering hasn’t changed, but it’s important we refine what volunteering means in Australia to make sure we better recognise, measure and support it,” he said.

“ABS figures show one in three Australians – 6.1 million people – volunteered in 2010. If we don’t accurately recognise the types of volunteering people do, we risk undervaluing it.” 

“In reviewing what volunteering is, we also need to be clearer about what volunteering isn’t.

“The rise of internships, work for the dole programs, and community service orders has created grey areas for organisations. They want to know if these activities overlap with volunteering, particularly around roles, rights and responsibilities.”

Volunteering Australia’s issues paper raises the following key issues for consideration:

  • Benefit to the community (versus primary benefit to an individual or organisation)
  • No payment or financial reward
  • Only unpaid work? (should certain types of activity be included or excluded?)
  • Choice? (whose choice is it and are there degrees of choice?)
  • Structure - is it only volunteering if performed for a charity? Can organisations volunteer?

The release of the Issues Paper today marks the start of a national engagement on the definition of volunteering. Stakeholder information sessions will follow and an online survey for all Australians to submit their views will be open from 16 March to 17 April 2015 on Volunteering Australia’s website. The Issues Paper, titled National Review of the Definition of Volunteering in Australia is available from today on Volunteering Australia’s website at volunteeringaustralia.org

Volunteering for Cyclone Marcia

20 February 2015

Volunteering Queensland’s Emergency Volunteering CREW service is managing offers of volunteer support from members of the public keen to help their fellow Queenslanders.

Interested volunteers can register at emergencyvolunteering.com.au/qld or via the READY QLD app to assist those affected by current extreme weather.

“In an emergency, people’s desire to help is phenomenal and such generosity can make a real difference,” said Mr Perry Hembury, Chief Executive Officer, Volunteering Queensland. 

“This is the best way to register your offer of help. We work with disaster agencies and organisations (government, councils, NGO’s, community groups) to safely match volunteers to where they’re needed most,” Mr Hembury said. 

Volunteering Queensland urges those interested in helping to:

  1. Register or update your details (location, skills and availability) with EV CREW online or via the READY QLD app
  2. Help yourself, family and neighbours (when conditions are safe to do so)
  3. Help those affected within any groups you are already connected with

“Please be patient as it is likely there will be opportunities for preparation and recovery efforts in the days, weeks and months ahead,” said Mr Hembury.

Let's make Australia the happiest place on earth: Give Happy, Live Happy

13 February 2015

Today Volunteering Australia launched the Give Happy, Live Happy web portal at volunteeringaustralia.org. The web portal will help the community celebrate the vital work of more than 6 million Australian volunteers during National Volunteer Week, 11-17 May.

The Give Happy, Live Happy web portal features resources for individuals and organisations including posters, invitations and certificates, all aimed at acknowledging the hard work of volunteers. The website also features fun facts, a media centre, and merchandise will also be available to purchase from March.

“The theme for National Volunteer Week 2015 is Give Happy, Live Happy and we want your help to make Australia the Happiest Place on earth. The web portal has a range of resources for organisations and individuals to help celebrate National Volunteer Week,” said Brett Williamson OAM, CEO, Volunteering Australia.

“Just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood, so we are asking Australians to give as much time as they can!”

Beyond Bank Australia’s General Manager Community Development, Peter Rutter said Beyond Bank is proud to again partner with Volunteering Australia for National Volunteer Week.

“Beyond Bank recognises the critical role that volunteers play in our communities, and we are honoured to support them through our relationship with Volunteering Australia.”

“National Volunteer Week provides a great opportunity for us all to say thanks to the many volunteers who help make our communities stronger, and let them know their efforts and commitment are appreciated – it’s also an appropriate time to encourage more people to get involved,” said Mr Rutter.

If you are interested in volunteering go to govolunteer.com.au to search over 10,000 vacant volunteering positions to find the perfect role in your region.

Volunteering Australia will be releasing more information about the 2015 National Volunteer Week campaign over the coming months (keep an eye on their website and social media platforms to stay up to date).

Award recognises crucial role during a time of cutbacks

2 February 2015

In a time when funding cutbacks have hit the nonprofit sector hard, the appointment to the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for Ross Wiseman, President of Volunteering Queensland for significant service to the community through his leadership and promotion of volunteer organisations, is a reminder of the important role volunteers can play in strengthening community. 

Ross, a long term resident of Tarragindi, has served on the Volunteering Queensland Board for over 10 years and is currently serving as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Volunteering Australia. He has had a long and fruitful career in the community services sector. He has worked with such organisations as Lifeline, Family Services Toowoomba, the Queensland Community Housing Coalition and the Queensland Council of Social Services. Ross stated that his roles in the community had a significant impact on his life and his discovery of “what he had been cut out for”.

“I strongly believe that there is a great need for small community-based local organisations where people from the community can be involved in bringing about a better life for all at the local level.” Ross said.

Ross has always been firmly committed towards community housing and community development, and he currently serves on the Board of Mangrove Housing Ltd and with the Circle of Men Inc in the support of a voluntary outreach service to frail aged men residing in aged care homes. Earlier in his career, he worked to establish community-managed housing projects throughout Queensland, laying the foundations for a state-wide community-housing infrastructure. More recently, he has taught community development in TAFE for 10 years.

He is a University of Queensland Alumni, having studied a Master’s of Social Welfare Administration and Planning and a Degree in Adult/Vocational Teaching. He also served 14 years in the Royal Australian Navy. He has maintained a determined focus on the long term viability and sustainability of small locally-based nonprofits.

Now in a time where funding is hard to come by and many nonprofits are struggling to simply provide their service, Ross is working with Volunteering Queensland to provide crucial services to help support these organisations in need. Volunteering Queensland wants to continue to support these nonprofits directly and indirectly by nurturing their capacity to deliver services through the effective engagement of volunteers. ‘Together With’ Volunteering Queensland is a unique approach to managed services that boosts the capacity of nonprofits to meet the needs of their clients by providing access to effective and affordable front and back of house operations, systems and IT, and premises that nurture sustainability, collaboration and innovation.

“We are currently taking enquiries from small nonprofits and businesses looking to be part of the ‘Together With’ co-work space,” said Ross, “But ultimately we hope to grow to the point where we consider other premises. “This strategy is a very practical example of how volunteers, such as myself, can leave a legacy that supports the whole sector at large.”


2014

Common approach leads community

15 December 2014

A coalition of local, community-led boards has sparked the Community Commons Project that could lead to one of the first collective impact alliances to support the combined needs of local groups to serve Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac communities.

“This region has been long recognised as a hotbed for community led solutions to social issues,” said Mr Perry Hembury, Chief Executive Officer, Volunteering Queensland, “In Whitlam’s era, the formation of the then Mackay Regional Social Development Centre (now the Regional Social Development Centre) positioned Mackay at the forefront of regionally led, practical approaches to working together.”

Now nearly fifty years on, the Coalition of Community Boards sub-committee of RSDC is continuing that tradition with the support of Queensland’s largest philanthropic trusts, the Queensland Community Foundation and Volunteering Queensland.

“Over 15 organisations, and growing, have come together to jointly identify the needs of the people they support, and openly share the challenges they face in addressing those needs,” said Ms Carmel Daveson, local Convenor of the Coalition of Community Boards, Whitsundays, Isaac and Mackay planning group (sub-committee of RSDC).

“Together at a workshop sponsored by the Mackay Regional Council, they have identified a collective way forward that will see them collaborate to better understand the capacity they have to meet community needs, and how they can work together to better support each other, and collectively inform future investment into local communities.”

“The Community Commons Project is one of the most evolved collectives of this kind in Australia today,” said Ms Lana de Kort, General Manager at Volunteering Queensland who is working directly with this project. “The organisations that are part of the coalition have drawn on this region’s strong community development history to address the challenges they face in meeting the changing needs of their communities, in such a competitive funding environment.”

“Collectively they have crafted a vision to more effectively meet the needs of the people who make Mackay, Whitsundays and Isaac their home. Many of these organisations are led by volunteers who bring with them a wealth of experience and heart, but who after decades of battling to provide services in a constantly changing environment, need support to find new and different ways of working together to create sustainable futures.” 

Download a copy of the Visioning Report sponsored by the Mackay Regional Council and outlining the outcomes to be achieved as part of the Community Commons Project. Find out more at volunteeringqld.org.au/communitycommons

Let’s make Australia the happiest place on earth: Give Happy, Live Happy

5 December 2014

Each year on December 5 the world stops to celebrate the social glue of society – volunteers.

Founded in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly, International Volunteer Day honours the generous service of over 6 million volunteers in Australia and many more around the world, for enriching our quality of life and social cohesion.

Volunteers contribute $290 billion to the Australian economy each year. If it were an industry it would be the largest in Australia. Today we thank each and every volunteer around the country for their commitment and service; those in emergency services, sports, arts, health and in every community activity in every region around Australia.

"Not only are volunteers helping make the lives of everyone around them happier, they too are happier as a result. Research tells us that just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in people’s happiness. It’s proven that volunteers are happier, healthier and even sleep better than those who don’t volunteer.

Volunteering Australia is very excited to announce the theme for National Volunteer Week 2015: Give Happy, Live Happy. From 11–17 of May next year we want to make Australia the happiest place on earth by asking every Australian to give as much time as they can. What better way to kick off the campaign than on International Volunteer Day!" said Brett Williamson, CEO,Volunteering Australia.

If you are interested in volunteering go to volunteeringaustralia.org to search over 10,000 vacant volunteering positions and find the perfect role in your region.

Volunteering Australia will be releasing more information about the 2015 National Volunteer Week campaign over the coming months (keep an eye on their website and social media platforms to stay up to date).

This summer, Volunteering Queensland needs your help

28 November 2014

Volunteering is life changing. It has the power to save lives, nourish environments, heal hearts and minds, deal with grief, inspire others and give meaning to those that are doing the giving.  But volunteering isn't free. It costs money to provide people from all walks of life a chance to safely, effectively and meaningfully volunteer.

This year in Queensland, over 1.2 million people volunteered their time to their community. For those that can’t afford their time this summer, why not donate to Volunteering Queensland?

“We know that people at either end of their career typically have more time available to volunteer face to face or virtually, but for those who are busy with their families or work, volunteering in a traditional sense is not so easy,” said Mr Perry Hembury, Chief Executive Officer, “These people still want to give, and instead of using their time to create an impact, now they have the option of donating to Volunteering Queensland.”

Volunteering Queensland, the volunteering peak body for over 30 years has worked hand in hand with community organisations (large and small) to ensure the platforms and expertise exist to engage volunteers. 

“Encouraging people to give back to their community by donating a spare dollar when they don’t have the time, boosts their capacity through Volunteering Queensland,” said Mr Hembury.

“Managing volunteers is a complex process that marries the motivations and circumstances of a volunteer, with the requirements of the community organisation and the needs of the community it serves,” said Mr Hembury, “When done well it can create an impact that touches all involved, but it’s not easy for organisations to do this effectively – particularly when they are under resourced or experiencing funding pressures – it’s an art in itself.”

“Investing in these organisations, through recruitment services like our online referral platform, training and resources, is an essential part of the way we build the capacity of these organisations – particularly the smaller organisations, like Neighbourhood Centres, Support Groups and causes.”

“Monetary donations are tax deductible and can be directed to support a specific service or support for organisations/causes near and dear to your heart,” said Mr Hembury, “Visit givenow.com.au and see how your donation can help an organisation upgrade their marketing material, participate in training or secure membership to access ongoing support for nominated period of time.”

“Your donation to Volunteering Queensland can help many others give their time and change lives.”

Build a strong future for volunteering

5 November 2014

In Australia today, communities are increasingly dependent on volunteers to deliver a wide range of services. With this in mind Volunteering Australia announced the details of its next National Volunteering Conference to be held from 6 - 8 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

“Volunteers play a key role in our country. Every day millions of Australians give their time and skills to support local communities throughout the country. Annually they contribute over $200 billion to the economy. We are delighted that Volunteering ACT will be hosting the Conference in our nation’s capital” said Volunteering Australia CEO, Brett Williamson OAM. 

The conference theme, ‘Build the Future,’ will advance volunteering through bringing the sector together to build leadership, knowledge, networks and innovation in volunteering. We are pleased to announce Beyond Bank Australia, our community partner and the bank for volunteers will once again be the conference partner.

“We’re proud of our partnership with Volunteering Australia. Our organisations both share a deep desire to create a better place for all Australians to live.” said Beyond Bank General Manager Community Development, Peter Rutter.

The conference will leverage off the success of the 2013 National Volunteering Conference held in Adelaide and the recently concluded 2014 IAVE World Volunteer Conference hosted by Volunteering Australia at the Gold Coast.

The Conference Program will focus on emerging volunteering challenges, trends and ideas and will also feature:

  • innovative programs and models of volunteering
  • networking lounges
  • tours of our National Institutions’ volunteering programs
  • research roundtables
  • social activities

For more information please go to: 2016nationalvolunteeringconference.com.au

Top speakers at world volunteer conference

10 September 2014

The sunny Gold Coast will welcome 1,000 volunteer leaders from over 40 countries across the world for the 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference next week. The event organised under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales will focus on current models of volunteering as well as future trends under its theme, Volunteering – Today’s Imperative.

“It is critical that we keep working both nationally as well as globally to strengthen, promote and advance volunteering. We have put together a fantastic line up of speakers from around the world to help us work toward this goal,” said IAVE’s World President-Elect, Kylee Bates, who will coincidently be only the second Australian to take on this role next month.

Consisting of two separate conferences, the IAVE World Youth Conference will be held from 15th to 17th and the 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference will be held from 17th to 20th of September. It will feature both international as well as local speakers and panellists from government, academia, corporate and not for profits. The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove will be guests of honour at the conference gala dinner.

“It is amazing to see that although we may be divided geographically and come from a diversity of cultures and traditions, we are united in our belief in the power of volunteering and the positive impact it has in each of our societies,” said the CEO of Volunteering Australia, Brett Williamson, OAM.

Some of the conference keynote speakers include:

  • Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator, United Nations Volunteers
  • The Hon. Michael Kirby AC. CMG
  • Dr. Kang-Hyun Lee, World President, IAVE
  • Jody Broun, Executive Director NSW, Australian Red Cross

Other highlights include:

  • Jenny Brockie, host of SBS TV’s Insight will facilitate a lively and thought provoking plenary panel on, “Considering Volunteering and Building Engaged Communities for the Future”.
  • Ralph Devlin QC, Deputy President of Surf Life Saving Australia will emcee the event.
  • Max Mansell, will be the resident artist for the conference and will over the course of the event produce an interactive art piece that reflects the spirit of the conference.

For full conference details see iave2014.org

The 23rd IAVE World Volunteer conference is organised in partnership with the Department of Social Services, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney General’s Department Emergency Management Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland as well as local and global sponsors.

World volunteer leaders to meet on the Gold Coast

2 September 2014

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our society. They contribute $200+ billion to the Australian economy annually with over six million volunteers working each day across the country to deliver vital services and support to their local communities.

The sunny Gold Coast is set to welcome 1,000 volunteer leaders from over 40 countries across the world for the 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference from September 15 to 20. This is only the second time in 44 years that Australia will host to this international event.

The conference is a biennial event organised by the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and hosted by the National peak body for volunteering, Volunteering Australia. It will be one of the highlights for volunteering leaders and organisations this year to network and share best practices, challenges and future trends.

The conference theme is Volunteering – Today’s Imperative and will not only focus on current models of volunteering but more importantly the future of volunteering. It consists of two separate conferences which media are invited to cover:

  1. IAVE World Youth Conference which will be held at the Watermark Hotel Gold Coast from 15 – 17 September 2004
  2. 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference which will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17 to 20 September 2014

The conference will also showcase six key interactive forums as follows:

  • Volunteering and Disasters: A Dialogue
  • The Role of Government in Supporting Volunteering
  • Volunteering and Advocacy: Challenging the Status Quo
  • Youth, Employment and Volunteering
  • The World's atwitter: Volunteering and Social media
  • Volunteering in a Post-2015 World

The conference will feature both international as well as local speakers and panellists from government, academia, corporate and not for profits. The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove will be guests of honour at the conference gala dinner on 17 September. Full conference details are available on iave2014.org

All Australians urged to imagine the possibilities...& volunteer

15 May 2014

Volunteering Australia today urged all Australians to imagine the nation without the power of more than six million volunteers working each day to make it possible for hundreds of thousands of not-for-profits to deliver vital services and support to communities.

“Of the 600,000 plus not-for-profits in our country, only 60,000 – or 10% have any paid staff,” said Brett Williamson, CEO of Volunteering Australia. “Imagine our lives without the power of volunteers. It’s when we consider what we would not have, that we understand the true value of volunteering in Australia.”

Mr Williamson, who announced a review of the official definition of volunteering to launch the 25th National Volunteer Week on Monday (12 May), said it was critical to understand the changing face of volunteering when measuring the true value of volunteering in human, social and economic terms.

“Half of all people who volunteer are employed – and many of them are able to volunteer because employers increasingly understand the positive effects of volunteering on their own paid workforce, they have a responsibility to the community they operate in,” Mr Williamson explained.

Mr Williamson said Volunteering Australia was proud to partner with Beyond Bank Australia for the National Volunteer Week campaign. “We have a long association with Beyond Bank, sharing a deep desire to create a better society for all Australians. Beyond Bank’s Volunteering program works closely with us and our state and territory bodies to help match volunteers to organisations within the community that have volunteering opportunities.”

Beyond Bank General Manager of Community Development, Peter Rutter, said: “We recognise the power of volunteers and the difference they can make to not-for-profit organisations that do not have the resources of commercial businesses. Our staff also play an active role with volunteering in the community and our Volunteering program helps introduce them to organisations that need an extra pair of hands.

“We want to encourage more people to volunteer in the community by supporting major events and activities that both promote the interests of volunteers; and the organisations who rely on those millions of unpaid hours of work.”

As the 2014 National Volunteer Week celebrations draw to a close this weekend, Mr Rutter and Mr Williamson urged all Australians to imagine the possibilities volunteering offers to make positive change in communities and workplaces everywhere.

Check National Volunteer Week events at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw and #NVW2014 on Twitter and Facebook.

Landmark alliance revitalises community governance

12 May 2014

Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac community organisations are set to get a boost from a collective first that will see Volunteering Queensland, the Coalition of Community Boards, Queensland Community Foundation and the Regional Social Development Centre (trading name for Mackay Regional Council for Social Development) join forces to revitalise community governance. The Queensland Community Foundation – one of Australia’s largest community foundations – has provided the much needed financial support for this initiative.

“This 12 month pilot project will first see us working directly with the 15 organisations who are part of the Whitsundays, Mackay and Isaac Planning Group (WIM),” said Volunteering Queensland CEO, Perry Hembury. “We will be engaging a community development worker who will be operating from the Regional Social Development Centre to assist these organisations determine effective ways of collaboration that will strengthen their capacity to meet the needs of their community.”

“Mackay is primed to demonstrate just how effectively communities can help themselves when they have the right assistance, because some of the country’s leading experts in community governance are well established here, and have been working with groups like the WIM Planning Group for a long time.”

“The Coalition for Community Boards has been working with the WIM Planning Group to strengthen recognition of the community sector’s role as well-governed providers of a wide range of essential social and community services,” said Ms Carmel Daveson, chair of the WIM Coalition for Community Boards sub-committee. “We are excited to make the most of this opportunity to work in partnership with Volunteering Queensland, and locally with the Regional Social Development Centre to develop the work of the Coalition to the point where our organisations can begin identifying ways for the sector as a whole to become more sustainable and effective.”

“This is the largest grant that has ever been offered by the Queensland Community Foundation,“ said Dr John de Groot, Chair Board of Governors, Queensland Community Foundation, ”But we believe this collective has the potential to enable community service organisations to build the relationships and insights that will create legacies in the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac communities. The Trustee and the Board of Governors are together looking forward to celebrating the results that the Revitalising Community Governance grant will deliver in Mackay and surrounding areas.”

To find out more about the Community Commons Project visit volunteeringqld.org.au/communitycommons

10 surprising facts about volunteering

12 May 2014

  1. Volunteers contribute $200 billion to the Australian economy annually
  2. Volunteering produces health benefits such a happiness, health and longevity
  3. The rate of volunteering by young people in Australia increased from 16% in 1995 to 27.1% in 2010
  4. The number of volunteers in Australia has doubled from 1995 (3.2 million) to 2010 (6.1 million)
  5. The average number of hours contributed by each volunteer per year has decreased from 74 hours in 1995 to 56 hours in 2010
  6. Of the 600 000 not for profit organisations in Australia only 60 000 have paid staff
  7. 50% of volunteers are in employment
  8. 44% of volunteers are engaged in short term volunteering roles
  9. Volunteering is more common amongst those outside the capital cities, with a 38% participation rate for outside the capital cities vs. 32% in the cities
  10. 35% of volunteers who became involved in volunteering in the last 10yrs were asked by someone

Redefining volunteering in Australia

12 May 2014

Volunteering Australia today announced that it is time to challenge long held assumptions of what constitutes volunteering in Australia in 2014.

What it means to be a volunteer will be a key question during National Volunteer Week which starts today.

‘National Volunteer Week turns 25 this year, celebrating the power of volunteering’ said CEO of Volunteering Australia, Brett Williamson. ‘It is a landmark year so we are taking landmark action. We are kicking off a national review to update our definition of volunteering.’

In 1996 Volunteering Australia identified a set of principles to describe volunteering. These principles still underpin volunteering policy for not for profits, business and government.

‘25 years ago volunteers expected to commit long-term and work in traditional organisations. Now volunteering opportunities have exploded with options like corporate volunteering, micro and episodic volunteering to meet the myriad of needs and opportunities now out there.’

‘The 1996 definition has not really kept pace with emerging trends of how over 6.1 million Australians are volunteering their time today with over 600 000 not for profit organisations.’

‘The definition of volunteering is a critical reference for the volunteering sector. It has a bearing on decision making by governments, volunteer resource centres and volunteer involving organisations. Not only does it enhance workforce planning, it underpins the integrity of volunteering and volunteers, ensuring a common understanding of what volunteering is. Much rests on it.’

‘It will also influence how companies manage employee volunteering programs, how organisations manage insurance needs for volunteers, how we measure volunteering and how we implement best practice standards across the sector.’

Mr Williamson said that ‘Volunteering Tasmania will lead the review. With the support of Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory peak bodies we intend to engage as comprehensively as possible with volunteers, volunteer involving organisations, government and the corporate sector.’

The review is expected to completed by December 2014.

Check National Volunteer Week events at volunteeringqld.org.au/nvw and #NVW2014 on Twitter and Facebook.

National Volunteer Week is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

Queensland poised for literacy game changer

1 April 2014

10 – 30% of Queensland kids cannot read or write confidently because of learning differences like dyslexia, special needs or even English as a second language; but this could all change if education initiatives and a skilled volunteer program proposed by Volunteering Queensland align.

“Learning Differences is a recruitment and linking initiative for skilled literacy volunteers aimed at supporting students with diverse learning needs,” said Volunteering Queensland CEO, Perry Hembury. “In one year alone, it could augment existing school based support with over 6 million hours of additional one-on-one support in or out of the classroom; all determined and controlled by the school or related community programs.”

“Queensland is poised to get great results from a range of education initiatives that are about to rollout,” said Mr Hembury, “But what happens when these initiatives end, or if the support children have out of the classroom doesn’t help them maintain their learning?"

“Add skilled volunteers from an aligned, locally driven literacy program like Learning Differences to the mix now, rather than later, and it is possible to extend the great results Queensland is about to achieve, so that the outcomes are not only more enduring but also sustainable well into the future. Think homework clubs, reading groups and additional one-on-one support.”

“The enormity of this problem is overwhelming," said Mr Hembury, “Great schools, great teachers, can do a lot but ultimately we can’t do it all alone. We need a community driven solution that brings all our efforts together and adds extra capacity. Volunteering Queensland is in a unique position to do this by helping schools and communities collaborate via skilled volunteers, as well as connect more readily to referral services and support networks.”

“If Volunteering Queensland can raise the $84,275 we need to get this started, then we have schools, volunteers and families lined up to benefit from the possibilities that Learning Differences offers to children with diverse learning needs.”

Learning Differences is supported by the Australian Dyslexia Association and will link with a wide group of stakeholders in Queensland and nationally.

Community resilience leads the way in new Queensland floods documentary

26 March 2014

A passionate yet descriptive new documentary detailing the struggle and success of a community’s resilience from the 2011 Queensland Floods is set to be launched this Friday.

The documentary, Walking the Path to Recovery – A Celebration of Community, interviews impacted local residents and details their efforts to restore their lives and highlights the role of the Yeronga Community Centre (formally Yeronga Flood Recovery Centre) in the rebuilding of the community.

Community Development Worker from Yeronga Community Centre, Ms Fiona McLeod highlights the truth and honesty in the documentary and the sense of humour of local residents in a time of pain.

“This documentary reflects how difficult the time was but how people worked together and created a safe place of recovery” says Ms McLeod.

Approximately 1,600 households were directly impacted in the Rocklea, Yeerongpilly and Fairfield areas during the floods. The Yeronga Community Centre improved the lives of more than 5,000 locals affected by the Floods.

The documentary is produced by Digital Cinematix in close partnership with Yeronga Community Centre and Volunteering Queensland.

Walking the Path to Recovery – A Celebration of Community will be launched at the Yeronga State School this Friday evening and all are welcome.

For more information on the Centre’s activities visit their Facebook Page: facebook.com/YerongaCommunityCentre


2013

Logan’s volunteers & community groups to have their say

5 November 2013

Volunteering Queensland’s Logan Office is running an online survey where all volunteers and community organisations in the region can submit their opinions on the issues they face and how they can be supported to address them at volunteeringqld.org.au

Branch Manager, Dulcinea Hernandez said this survey will collect invaluable information that will help build the capacity of Logan’s volunteers and community groups.

“As part of our Volunteer Capacity Building Project, this information will assist us to work together with the community to address shared challenges and build on current strengths, with the results informing our delivery of training and a range of initiatives involving volunteer groups, Logan City Council and other organisations.

“We encourage all Logan volunteers and community organisations to take a few moments to complete this important survey before it closes at the end of November,” Mrs. Hernandez said.

When asked to describe what part of their volunteering experience they considered to be the most valuable, one survey respondent said “being able to make a difference in people’s lives when they are the most vulnerable” and another said “confidence building, meeting new people, having a purpose”.

Individual volunteers said they would recommend volunteering because “Logan is the best place to be a volunteer…our Mayor is so encouraging and supportive” and that they volunteered to “feel useful” and to “be able to give back to the community”.

Logan’s volunteers lend a helping hand to more than 200 community groups that are fundamental in building and maintaining the community – providing social and economic support, a sense of belonging, a range of recreational activities and opportunities for community participation.

Complete the Logan volunteers and community organisations survey today at volunteeringqld.org.au

New emergency portal to assist volunteers

25 October 2013

ESA Commissioner Dominic Lane has thanked the community for the huge interest in joining the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) and has asked potential new volunteers to visit Volunteering ACT’s new Emergency Volunteering Portal emergencyvolunteering.com.au.

“The Emergency Volunteering Portal has been developed by Volunteering ACT as a way to volunteer with emergency service agencies as well as to inform ACT residents about preparedness for natural disasters and to provide updates on emergency volunteering news and current opportunities,” ESA Commissioner Dominic Lane said.

“The community can register as an emergency volunteer by visiting emergencyvolunteering.com.au or downloading the Ready ACT smartphone app and fill out a form with their details and skills,” he said.

“Volunteering ACT is the one point of contact for the Australian Capital Territory in the case of an emergency for people who want to volunteer and for organisations seeking volunteers.

“I would like to congratulate the team at Volunteering ACT for drawing up the framework and creating such a portal that the community can easily access.

“Volunteering ACT will act as a central agency to register offers of assistance from individuals pledging their time to volunteer and requests for assistance from organisations seeking volunteers in disaster preparation, response and recovery activities.

“Four ACTRFS taskforces have been sent to work in the Sydney Basin since the first request last Thursday with more deployments to assist in firefighting efforts in NSW also a possibility.

“With the current fire emergency in NSW, the ACTRFS has received over 100 offers from the ACT community to join in the past week.

“Volunteering with the ACTRFS can be a very rewarding experience and help the Canberra community and other jurisdictions across Australia in times of need,” ESA Commissioner Dominic Lane said.

“Next year, a series of information sessions and intakes will be held for members of the Canberra community who are interested in joining the ACTRFS,” he said.

Supported by Volunteering Queensland who established the Emergency Volunteering Portal, Emergency Volunteering CREW service, and Ready Qld smartphone app.

Australia celebrates first National Student Volunteer Week

4 August 2013 

Universities and schools around Australia are gearing up to participate in the inaugural National Student Volunteer Week (NSVW), to be held from 4-10 August 2013.

An initiative of Volunteering Queensland, NSVW aims to recognise, support and promote student volunteering across the nation.

Participating universities, schools and student groups will host a range of events for students to experience and learn about volunteering opportunities in their local area, including volunteer expos/fairs, community activities, volunteer placements, presentations and seminars.

As well as this, the week will help showcase the valuable work already undertaken by student volunteers and recognise their important contribution to the community.

Volunteering has become more common among young Australians over recent years with their rate of volunteering increasing from 16% in 1995 to 27.1% in 2010*.

Volunteering allows students to develop their personal, professional and social skills, while enriching the student experience through building culture and community, helping others and making a difference in the world.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Perry Hembury, said that NSVW is an incredibly exciting and unique opportunity for students, educational providers and the community alike.

“National Student Volunteer Week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the value of volunteering and to encourage more students to be active in this space,”

“Providing students with meaningful opportunities to engage with their local communities through volunteering has extremely positive impacts on student experience, with many students sighting their volunteering as the highlight of their studies,”

"Students bring their strengths and abilities to their civic participation and the value of that engagement accrues to the whole community," Mr Hembury said.

The week will provide increased insight into student volunteering around Australia, encourage discussion and innovation in community engaged learning, and build stronger relationships between the education and nonprofit sectors.

For more information on NSVW, visit volunteeringqld.org.au/nsvw.

National Volunteer Week 13-19 May - ‘One Big Thank You!’ to Queensland volunteers

11 May 2013

Queensland will recognise the efforts of its 1.2 million volunteers and say ‘One Big Thank You!’ during National Volunteer Week, 13-19 May 2013.

Volunteering Queensland, in partnership with Westpac, will officially kick off the week of celebrations with the state’s official launch event ‘One Big Thank You!’ led by The Hon Tracy Davis MP, Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, and Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, on Tuesday 14 May.

‘One Big Thank You!’ will incorporate live speeches, videos and a Skype chat to demonstrate the variety of ways Queenslanders volunteer all around the state.

Guest speakers from community organisations including Palm Beach Youth Music Venture, Special Olympics Queensland, West End Welcomes, The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation and the Welcome to Mackay Centre will share first-hand experiences of how ordinary Queenslanders are changing the lives of others through the act of volunteering.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Perry Hembury, says volunteers come from all different ages, backgrounds and professions but are united in their efforts to help the causes they care about.

“The value of volunteering cannot be overstated – participation through people’s time, skills and passion adds to a proud culture of giving in our society, contributing more to the economy than most high-profile industries,” Mr Hembury says.

“When we engage with our community we not only make our world a better place, but also establish a legacy for future generations as a society that values social participation”,

“No matter what phase of our lives we are in, there is a world of opportunity open to each of us through volunteering”.

Head of Westpac Institutional Bank Queensland, Max Morley, added that the Bank is proud to once again partner with Volunteering Queensland in recognising and thanking volunteers across the state.

“Westpac also has a long and strong tradition of community involvement and leadership,” Mr Morley said.

“At Westpac, our customers are at the centre of everything we do and each branch is an integral part of the local community. It’s a point of pride to local Westpac staff that they also contribute to the communities in which they live and work.” 

I registered as an emergency volunteer ... what happens next?

6 February 2013

It’s the most frequently asked question being received by Volunteering Queensland’s Emergency Volunteering team right now – “what happens next” for the thousands of people who have put their hands up to help with the flood clean-up and recovery.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said people should not be concerned if they had not received a call yet, because the recovery effort would require volunteers for “days, weeks and months” ahead.

“While people do want to spring into action immediately, please keep in mind that the most valuable help you can provide may be six to twelve months down the road. If you haven’t received a call yet, please don’t feel overlooked.”

To help people understand how the Emergency Volunteering process works, Volunteering Queensland has provided the following step-by-step explanation:

Step 1: Potential volunteers register or update their details either online at emergencyvolunteering.com.au or call toll-free 1800 994 100;

Step 2: Each volunteer’s details, including their skills, location and availability, are entered into the Emergency Volunteering register;

Step 3: Disaster management agencies and government, city and regional councils, contact the Emergency Volunteering team on a regular basis and advise of their immediate and long-term volunteer requirements;

Step 4: Emergency Volunteering refers based on need, matching volunteers to the requirements of the agency - sending volunteers where they are needed the most; 

Step 5: Volunteers are contacted by the Emergency Volunteering team or directly by an agency to discuss the recovery volunteer work and whether they can help. 

Stay connected and up-to-date with Volunteering Queensland’s Emergency Volunteering efforts. Register or update your volunteer details and download our free READY QLD app for Android or Apple.

Volunteering for the Queensland floods

28 January 2013

Those keen to help with response and recovery efforts for the Queensland floods are encouraged to register or update their details at emergencyvolunteering.com.au

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, commends Queenslanders for once again showing their community spirit when times are tough, but asks those interested in lending a hand to be patient and join a coordinated volunteer response.

“For now we ask you to stay calm, stay safe and follow any messages from local authorities; Make sure you look after yourself, your loved ones and your neighbours.

“We urge you to register with us so we can safely refer you where you are needed most. The best response is a coordinated response, and we are working closely with Brisbane City Council and emergency management agencies across Queensland to support recovery projects.  

“Please be aware that we refer volunteers based on need, and in many cases the greatest need will be in the days, weeks and months to come. Registering with us means this volunteer support can be sustained, and it also means we can ensure more thoughtful, safe and responsible volunteer experiences.”

Stay connected and up-to-date with Volunteering Queensland's Emergency Volunteering efforts. Register or update your details and download our free READY QLD app for Android or Apple.


2012

Queenslanders - Get disaster ready today

31 October 2012

As the United States takes stock of the damage caused by super storm Sandy, Queenslanders will no doubt empathise with the affected communities. 

Being well prepared for a disaster makes a big difference in how well we recover and with the upcoming summer storm season upon us, this is the best time to get ready.

Volunteering Queensland offers an innovative series of online resources which can help everyone become better prepared.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said the most important thing is to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the upcoming storm season. 

“Taking action now will reduce the risk of property damage and other losses as well as speed up the recovery,” Mr Dragisic said.

There are some simple things that everyone can do right now to prepare.

These include:

  1. Download the free smart phone app – READY QLD
  2. Take a couple of minutes to complete the Disaster Readiness Index – an online and interactive checklist
  3. Watch Disasters: Know Your Role – a short online animation, which explains what happens around you during disasters and what your role is. A quick, everyday language version of the Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements.
  4. Register to be part of the Emergency Volunteering CREW – Australia’s largest online database of emergency volunteers.

All of this can be done on emergencyvolunteering.com.au

Online natural disaster resource offers common-sense advice for Queenslanders

23 October 2012 

With early storms and fires already threatening parts of the state, Volunteering Queensland has launched a new online module offering common sense advice and demystifying the official state disaster management arrangements.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said the interactive resource, called ‘Disasters: Know Your Role’, was designed to be fun while giving people clear advice on how to prepare, respond to, and recover from, disaster events.

“We have been offering Disaster Resilience Leadership Workshops in local communities since March 2011 and one of the persistent messages we were getting was the need for an easy-to-understand resource that explains our disaster arrangements in plain English,” Mr Dragisic said.

“The Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements are designed to guide coordinated action that will minimise the impacts of natural disasters, but at close to 90 pages long, they can be a bit overwhelming.

“The goal of the new “Disaster: Know Your Role” module is to capture the key elements of this document so people can understand how government and non-government organisations work together when disasters occur. 

“The resource also offers common-sense advice for each stage of a disaster, and covers some of the more common myths.”

Mr Dragisic said Queenslanders are twice as likely to experience natural disasters than the other Australian states. 

“Every one of us can play an important part in protecting our loved ones and our communities from natural disasters, but we need to work together to achieve the best results,” Mr Dragisic said.

“’Disasters: Know Your Role’ is a great complement to our Disaster Readiness Index, an online checklist which helps people plan and prepare for disasters before they hit.” 

‘Disasters: Know Your Role’ and the Disaster Readiness Index are available online at emergencyvolunteering.com.au

Increasing opportunities for international students to volunteer

29 July 2012

Volunteering Queensland has launched the International Student Volunteer Initiative, to build capacity around engaging international students as volunteers and to educate international students on volunteering practices in Australia.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, encouraged nonprofit organisations to be open to the skills, experiences and enthusiasm that international students can offer as volunteers.

“When international students volunteer, they bring increased cross-cultural understandings, can identify needs in the community and make your services relevant to a wider group, and they are professionals with high level skills,” said Mr Dragisic.

“By sharing our research and advice we hope more Queensland nonprofit organisations will be able to work more effectively with international students."

Volunteering Queensland has taken a holistic approach to increase international student volunteering by also encouraging education providers to be actively involved.

"Volunteering provides international students with a unique opportunity to improve their professional and interpersonal skills and get to know the local community playing host to them. Whether it's related to their field of study or not, the real-world experience they gain by volunteering can be one of the most memorable times of their studies here."

“International students rely on education providers for advice on life and work in Australia, so we urge all Queensland education providers to help us encourage international students to volunteer.” Mr Dragisic concluded.

The International Student Volunteer Initiative includes detailed information kits for internationals students, nonprofit organisations and education providers, best practice case studies, international student volunteer profiles and workshops / masterclasses.

‘One Big Thank You’ to Queensland volunteers

13 May 2012

Queensland will recognise the efforts of its 1.1 million volunteers and say ‘One Big Thank You’ during National Volunteer Week, 14-20 May 2012.

Volunteering Queensland, in partnership with Westpac will officially kick off the week of celebrations with the state’s official launch event ‘One Big Thank You’ led by Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk and a community BBQ on Tuesday 15 May.

‘One Big Thank You’ will host conversations with community groups sharing volunteer stories and videos, live streamed to volunteering supporters across Queensland.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic says volunteers come from all different ages, backgrounds and professions but are united in their efforts to help the causes they care about.

“From large nonprofits to informal community groups to corporate volunteering programs, volunteers all actively participate, giving their skills, time and energy to create healthy and vibrant communities,” Mr Dragisic said.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our state working in sport and recreation, education and training, in social, environmental, health and animal welfare, emergency services, advocacy, arts and culture and religious groups,”

“Volunteering is an essential element of a thriving civil society and we cannot take volunteers for granted”.

Westpac Qld State General Manager (Commercial & Agribusiness) Rod Kelly added that the Bank is proud to once again partner with Volunteering Queensland in recognising and thanking volunteers across the state.

“Westpac also has a long and strong tradition of community involvement and leadership,” Mr Kelly said.

“At Westpac, our customers are at the centre of everything we do and each branch is an integral part of the local community. It’s a point of pride to local Westpac staff that they also contribute to the communities in which they live and work”.

Defying Gen Y stereotypes to improve the volunteering experience for young people

13 March 2012

Volunteering Queensland has released Young People as Volunteers, a research report that challenges traditional views of young volunteers and paths the way for more meaningful engagement. 

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said the report is the first step in exploring how to enhance the quality of the experience young people have when volunteering.

“We cannot continue to define young people by homogenous Gen Y typecasts; we must appreciate their diversity and recognise the creativity, enthusiasm and innovative ideas they bring to volunteering,” Mr Dragisic said.

“What we learned during this research is that young people want their volunteering to be flexible but structured, professional with ownership and leadership opportunities, they want to use new technologies but value both online and social interactivity, and they want opportunities where they can really make an impact."

Volunteering Queensland believes that for sustained volunteer engagement the sector must hear the opinions of young people, think differently and try new approaches.  

“Volunteer involving organisations, government and peak bodies, ourselves included, need to change the way we run our volunteer projects and programs; we need to empower young people to be the designers of the way they want to volunteer, not design it for them.” Mr Dragisic concluded.

Young People as Volunteers details research findings, case studies and strategies organisations can implement to more effectively work together with a new generation of volunteers.

This report is part of a series of research Volunteering Queensland is conducting around innovative engagement in the volunteering space. Current research topics include adaptive leadership, creativity and social innovation, virtual volunteering and digital models of engagement.

Access Volunteering Queensland’s Young People as Volunteers.

Community spirit still strong one year on from Queensland’s toughest summer

12 January 2012

Volunteering Queensland reflects on the year that has passed since so many Queenslanders were affected by the worst disasters to hit our state.

While it was a time of heartache and loss for many, the past summer also brought out an unprecedented volunteering effort and incredible community spirit.

Jelenko Dragisic, CEO, Volunteering Queensland, thanks the thousands of volunteers that have assisted with flood recovery efforts, helping fellow Queenslanders get back on their feet.

“One year on, we acknowledge the amazing outpouring of people’s energy and goodwill at a time when it mattered the most. Our thoughts go out to the people who were impacted by the floods, but also to the armies of volunteers that helped with the cleanup, the rebuilding and who supported those in need,” Mr Dragisic said.

“It was humbling to see communities coming together to volunteer and whose efforts helped to make the lives of those doing it tough better. Over the past year we have referred over 14,500 volunteers to agencies for disaster recovery work.

“We are incredibly proud of the work of our Queensland Emergency Volunteering CREW volunteers.

Volunteering Queensland has learnt much from the experiences over the last year, now providing better support and services for emergency volunteering.

“We’ve enhanced our database of emergency volunteers, agencies and opportunities. Improved services means we can quickly register, search and match opportunities with volunteers easily and conveniently,” Mr Dragisic said.

“You can register with EV CREW online for information on current emergency volunteer opportunities. We also encourage Queenslanders to access our resources on preparing and responding to natural disasters.

Find out more, visit emergencyvolunteering.com.au


2011

International Volunteer Day celebrate volunteering

5 December 2011

International Volunteer Day (IVD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985. IVD is now celebrated worldwide with thousands of volunteers involved in a range of IVD initiatives including clean-up campaigns, conferences, exhibitions, morning teas and many other activities all aimed to highlight the role of volunteers in their communities.

Volunteering Australia salutes our 6.1 million volunteers as we take the opportunity to say thank you for the amazing contribution they make in their communities. 38% of Australian adults volunteer. The number of volunteers has doubled over the last 15 years.

As part of the IVD celebrations Volunteering Australia will release the preliminary findings from the annual National Survey of Volunteering Issues. The survey aims to identify issues and trends that affect peoples ability to volunteer or that affects their volunteering. Early extracts advise:

  • More than 90% of respondents said that they are satisfied with their volunteering experience.
  • The things that volunteers say are most important for them to continue volunteering in the future are: the values and principles of the organisation; location; and the availability of volunteer work that matches their interests and/or skills.
  • Half of organisational respondents had introduced different/new ways of offering volunteering to existing or prospective volunteers in the past 12 months.
  • Approximately 60% of organisations said they had introduced greater flexibility in when people could volunteer.
  • The survey also looks at other areas including solutions to barriers to volunteering, the volunteering environment, corporate volunteering, governance, and leadership and management.

The preliminary report is released on IVD with the more detailed analysis available early 2012.

Further details are available at volunteeringaustralia.org

Engage a snake catcher

5 October 2011

When local businesses met last night to talk about disaster preparedness few businesses thought to have “engage a snake catcher” on their checklist. However, after sharing stories about the floods and Cyclone Ului many of the businesses attending went away with some new ideas to add to their disaster plans.

Michael Cullen, Project Coordinator, Volunteering Queensland, presented at the first Business Roundtable EXTEND on Tuesday 4 October 2011 in Mackay and on Wednesday 5 October 2011 in Sarina.

“The purpose of the roundtable is to enable businesses of all shapes, sizes and types to come together and talk about what they are doing to prepare for the upcoming disaster season,” said Mr Cullen.

“Learning from the experiences of other businesses, and possibly even collaborating is a very practical way of getting ready for extreme weather events that may occur over the summer,”

“Engaging a snake catcher is one of the more novel actions I have heard,” said Mr Cullen, “but a pretty relevant one in this region especially if you are talking about floods.”

The roundtable is an ongoing initiative, meeting four times a year and supported by the Mackay Regional Council and Westpac Banking Corporation.

“In November the roundtable will meet again in Mackay to hear from local emergency management experts about the impact potential disasters could have on their business and the wider community.”

Queenslanders urged to get disaster-ready

1 September 2011

Volunteering Queensland is launching an Australian-first interactive, online resource today (1.30pm) to help more Queenslanders get prepared for natural disasters.

Natural disasters are twice as likely to hit Queensland than other states, but few of us are properly equipped for an emergency. 

The Disaster Readiness Index (at emergencyvolunteering.com.au) gives individuals a “star” rating on their level of preparedness and generates a personalised list of steps to take to become more emergency-ready.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said the checklist was developed to help communities prepare for the worst.

“While we can’t stop disasters, we can be in control of how ready we are,” he said.

“We’ve experienced some devastating natural disasters in Queensland this year so we want to see more people taking steps toward emergency planning for the future.

“The Disaster Readiness Index is about providing a starting point so people know what they have to do to take care of their families and loved ones if disaster strikes,” Mr Dragisic said.  

To encourage Queenslanders to take the new checklist, Volunteering Queensland will today launch “Queensland’s Disaster Readiness Challenge”.

The goal of the challenge is that Queenslanders complete the Disaster Readiness Index and collectively reach a target. As each person completes the checklist, their star rating will be added to the state’s total.

“Disaster preparedness is not something one person can do alone. It requires all of us, as Queenslanders, to work together,” Mr Dragisic said.

“By being better prepared as a state we can save lives and reduce damage.”

Mr Dragisic said it was important for people to get organised ahead of the upcoming storm season.

“I think many people will be surprised at their Disaster Readiness Index rating and the key things they don’t have or don’t know for when a disaster hits,” he said.

The Disaster Readiness Index is a simple checklist that assesses people’s knowledge, existing emergency planning procedures and understanding of their environment.   

It provides information on managing hazards around the home, assessing disaster potential in local areas, emergency support channels, evacuation planning, emergency kits and developing community connections.

Volunteering Queensland launches Australia's first interactive online disaster preparedness tool

15 July 2011

Six months after devastating floods hit South-East Queensland, Volunteering Queensland has launched Australia’s first interactive online disaster preparedness tool – the Readiness Index.

Queenslanders are encouraged to take the Readiness Index to check their level of preparedness for extreme weather events and view an individualised improvement and action guide. The Honourable Neil Roberts MP, Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services, launched the Readiness Index and said it will contribute to building Queensland’s resilience.

“It’s my pleasure to officially kick off the Readiness Index… I’m really pleased and proud of the work that Volunteering Queensland is doing fitting in to a critical aspect of disaster management and that is community resilience,” said Minister Roberts.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said that disaster preparedness is essential to both reducing the impact of natural disasters as well as building resilience within our local communities. “To date there hasn’t been any online interactive resources in this area. We felt it was very important to develop this tool to help Queenslanders prepare for future disasters,

“The Readiness Index is a critical part of our Step Up Program which empowers people with the necessary knowledge, tools and resources to build community self-reliance,” said Mr Dragisic.

New workshops to encourage resilience thinking & local leadership

18 May 2011

Starting next month, Volunteering Queensland’s Resilience Leadership workshops will help regional Queensland to build their capacity to better cope with disasters.

Local community leaders and those working in community development and disaster management will come together to learn about community resilience planning and enhance their leadership capacity.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said the project, which will be held in four locations across the state this year, will have a strong focus on learning from local knowledge while feeding in the latest thinking and practice.

“Through the workshops we hope to absorb local experience and expertise, while sharing our learnings around community resilience and adaptive leadership,” Mr Dragisic said.

“Key outcomes from the workshops will be participants developing leadership skills, a unique community resilience plan designed specifically for each community and it will form an important network between those leaders who attend.” 

The Resilience Leadership Project is part of Volunteering Queensland’s Step Up Program, a series of projects which build community resilience to natural disasters by empowering Queenslanders with the necessary knowledge, tools and resources to enable community self-reliance.

Volunteer Managers acknowledged for vital work during Queensland natural disasters

15 May 2011

Volunteering Queensland today announced five scholarships are on offer for Managers of Volunteers who played a crucial role during the recent extreme weather that devastated Queensland. 

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Jelenko Dragisic, said the Volunteer Manager Capacity Building Scholarships will highlight the exceptional work of those who coordinated volunteer efforts during an extremely difficult time. 

"There was an overwhelming outpouring of volunteer support during the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi and we believe it is important to recognise the outstanding work of those involved in coordinating these volunteers, both during the crisis and now in the recovery phase.

"The scholarships will draw attention to Queenslanders who displayed excellence in volunteer management during the natural disasters and we will award recipients with a nationally recognised qualification, the Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Coordination," Mr Dragisic said.

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, 9-15 May 2011, during International Year of Volunteers + 10 Volunteering Queensland encourages Managers of Volunteers across the state to apply to have their skills, knowledge and experience formally acknowledged.

An application form and further information on the Volunteer Managers Capacity Building Scholarships is available at volunteeringqld.org.au. Applications close Friday 17 June 2011.

Celebrate National Volunteer Week (9-15 May)

9 May 2011

National Volunteer Week (NVW) commences today with more than 1 million Queensland volunteers recognised for their contribution to their communities.

NVW is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our communities and to say thank you to the more than 5 million Australians who volunteer each year.

Queenslanders who volunteer contribute tens of millions of hours yearly to various areas of society including community health care, arts, environment conservation, emergency services, education and social justice.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said Queensland will celebrate National Volunteer Week with a host of events and activities to cater for everyone involved in the voluntary sector.

"Our main event, One Big Global Thank You, will recognise the contribution of volunteers across Queensland as we share stories of community resilience, recovery and rebuilding; as it is UN International Year of Volunteers + 10 a group of volunteers who played a key role in the Christchurch earthquake will join the event as virtual guests.

"Throughout the week we also have a Service Learning Summit for academics, a Business Roundtable for corporates, a webinar and scholarship announcement for Managers of Volunteers, and we will end the celebrations with a fun day out for everyone at the Community Games," said Mr Dragisic.

Volunteering Queensland recognises and thanks the Queensland Government for their support of National Volunteer Week and our partners Griffith University, Westpac, Minter Ellison, Bunnings Warehouse, Mabel Park State High School, ABS Census, as well as national sponsors, NAB and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

One Big Global Thank You for volunteers

29 April 2011

Community resilience, recovery and rebuilding will be the key message during One Big Global Thank You to celebrate National Volunteer Week 2011 in Queensland on Tuesday, 10 May.

Volunteering Queensland, in partnership with Westpac will officially kick off a week of celebrations from the Westpac branch in Milton, which is re-opening after being badly affected during the Summer floods.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Jelenko Dragisic says local businesses were also part of the overwhelming show of volunteer support during the recent natural disasters.

"We are extremely grateful to everyone who put up their hand to volunteer with the flood clean-up, it was amazing to see thousands of people working together to help their family, friends, neighbours, local businesses and community groups such as the RSPCA and other nonprofits. 

“One Big Global Thank You” will feature webcams to connect volunteer communities from regions like Cardwell, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Bundaberg, Townsville with flood affected Brisbane suburbs like West End, New Farm and Milton.

This year is also the UN International Year of Volunteers + 10 and a group of volunteers from Christchurch will also join in as virtual guests.

Westpac Queensland State General Manager Commercial & Agribusiness, Rod Kelly added that the Bank was proud to partner with Volunteering Queensland to recognise the vital role local volunteers play in our region.

“Like Volunteering Queensland, Westpac has a long and strong tradition of community involvement and leadership,” Mr Kelly said.

“Every Westpac branch is an integral part of the community that it serves. It’s a point of pride to local Westpac staff that they can make such a contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

“At Westpac we put our customers at the centre of everything we do, and this extends to practical measures to help the community when it needs help the most, such as during the recent floods and Cyclone Yasi,” Mr Kelly said.

Volunteering Queensland’s submission to the Queensland Floods Commission

19 April 2011

Volunteering Queensland welcomes discussion generated from its submission to the Queensland Floods Commission and believes it will enhance understanding of the need for long term engagement in emergency volunteering rather than spontaneous reactions. 

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Jelenko Dragisic said the volunteer support shown during the floods was overwhelming and hopes that its submission will start conversations around the nature of disaster response volunteering and help Queenslanders to be better prepared for future emergencies.

"We are extremely grateful to everyone who put up their hand to volunteer with the flood cleanup, it was amazing to see thousands and thousands of people working together to help their family, friends, neighbours and others in their community.

"It is important to understand that during disasters these opportunities to help in the short-term are limited with the vast majority of emergency volunteering requiring training and a longer commitment; for example being trained as an emergency volunteer with Red Cross, SES or crisis support with Lifeline.

"While there are opportunities for people who spontaneously call up to volunteer, the best chance for engagement is to undertake emergency volunteer training during non emergency times,” Mr Dragisic said.

During the disaster Volunteering Queensland encouraged volunteers to register now and be prepared to help later, stating that there will be opportunities to help in the days, weeks and months ahead, however has now found the availability of many registered volunteers has changed.

"Upon witnessing the devastation firsthand or on their television screens people called up during the crisis with a high expectation to be able to help immediately and in some instances were simply looking to connect and talk about what was happening.

"Months on many areas of Queensland are still in need of a helping hand and we receive requests for assistance from organisations daily, but as people have returned to their daily life and work it is harder to find help," Mr Dragisic continued.

Volunteering Queensland had to rapidly adapt to the unprecedented level of interest in volunteering for the floods to perform it role as a volunteer referral agency, it acknowledges that improvements to its systems are necessary and presents a number of recommendations for emergency volunteering.

"As a small community peak body we really had to stretch our limited resources to register over 84,000 people offering their time, skills, goods and services; it certainly did test our systems and we certainly learnt a lot from the experience.

"We believe that our Emergency Volunteering CREW service is an effective way to register volunteer interest during disasters and by working with disaster management agencies we provide a coordinated approach that looks after the health and safety of volunteers.

"We do acknowledge the need for us to respond more promptly to volunteer offers, that while genuinely made could not be accommodated at that time and we aim to communicate more effectively and regularly with registered volunteers.

"We hope that together with our partner agencies we can find ways of engaging a larger number of short term volunteers and offer more opportunities at night and weekends when more people are able to assist.

“We also hope that more Queenslanders will get involved in emergency volunteering for the long term," Mr Dragisic concluded.

Discussion to build a stronger, more resilient Queensland

11 February 2011

Volunteering Queensland is hosting Queensland’s largest ever Community Resilience Conversation on Thursday 17 February and urges people to seek out opportunities to join the discussion in their local area. 

The conversation will enable communities to connect in the aftermath of the state’s recent severe natural disasters and to determine how to move forward together.

“This community resilience event will enable the people of Queensland to bounce back faster, bringing people together to create sustainable links within the community,” said Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic.

“Community resilience is critical in minimising the long-term effects from the recent disasters, not only helping communities’ recover more quickly, but restoring long-term confidence and reducing future vulnerability.”

Community resilience is a community’s capacity to initiate change and plan proactive strategies so that it can grow and develop to be self-reliance with clear direction.

The Community Resilience Conversation will:

  • open up support networks;
  • enable communities to cope with unexpected change; and
  • facilitate community growth and development.

For all things emergency volunteering and community resilience visit emergencyvolunteering.com.au

Thank you Queensland

20 January 2011

Volunteering Queensland would like to say thank you to the thousands of Queenslanders who have put their hands up to help during one of the state’s worst disasters.

More than 55,000* people from Queensland have now registered with Volunteering Queensland.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said they’re extremely grateful for the overwhelming support from all over Australia.

“This recovery is going to be a long-term effort and impossible without the help of volunteers,” Mr Dragisic said.

“If you’re thinking about registering you can still put your name down.”

“Every person who registers has different skills and availability, so the more volunteers we have registered the easier we can respond to requests for assistance.”  

Mr Dragisic said volunteers shouldn’t worry if they haven’t received a call yet.

“We’re working in collaboration with disaster management agencies, Councils and the government to identify more volunteering opportunities,” Mr Dragisic said.

“It’s a strategic process of finding the right people, with the right skills for each volunteering activity.

“We’ll continue sending volunteers into the community for as long as they’re needed.”

*Figures were analysed from Volunteering Queensland database on the 16th January

To register as a volunteer, call 1800 994 100 or register online at volunteeringqld.org.au

Volunteers help residents get back on their feet

19 January 2011

More than 1,800 displaced residents have returned home or to temporary accommodation as Brisbane’s main evacuation centre prepares to shut down today.

Volunteering Queensland and Micah Projects have been on the ground assisting residents leaving the RNA Showgrounds evacuation centre.

Micah Projects is one of the organisations that use Volunteering Queensland’s register to source volunteers.

Micah Projects coordinator Karyn Walsh said more than 200 volunteers helped with the transition, working one-on-one with residents to help them get through this difficult time.

“Volunteers have gone above and beyond to help people get back on their feet,” Ms Walsh said

“We’ve been matching volunteers with individual evacuees to find out their situation and how we can help them get back into the community.”

Volunteers have been assisting evacuees every step of the way:

  • Taking them to check damage to their homes
  • Helping them get back in contact with loved ones
  • Providing them with transport
  • Driving them to doctor’s appointments, to the shops or to the hairdressers
  • Running scripts to hospitals and pharmacies to get vital medication that had been lost in the floods
  • Transporting displaced holiday-makers to the airport to catch flights home
  • Taking them out for the day to get a break from the evacuation centre.

“We’ve helped more than 300 people get back home or into short-term accommodation and we couldn’t have achieved without the generosity and compassion of volunteers,” Ms Walsh said.

“Evacuees were extremely grateful to have a familiar face as their regular point of contact. I think we’ll see a lot of new friendships formed here,” she said.

Volunteering Queensland’s Ehon Chan has been coordinating volunteers at the evacuation centre for the past week.

“The community support has been remarkable,” Mr Chan said.

“So many people have turned up on our door step offering to help out. We had massive lines of people just wanting to get out in the community and do something.

“People staying at the evacuation centre, who couldn’t get back to their own homes, were even putting their hands up to help other flood victims with the clean up.

“There were also so many donations of clothes and blankets from the local community we had to send an entire truckload away,” he said.

The Community Recovery Centre at the RNA Showgrounds will stay open to continue providing support and assistance to flood affected residents.

To register as a volunteer, call 1800 994 100 or register online at volunteeringqld.org.au

I need help from volunteers... who do I call?

17 January 2011

With the Queensland flood clean-up well underway, many residents have received help from thousands of volunteers who have been deployed to affected areas.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said even with the massive volunteer response, many individuals, businesses and organisations were still in need of help and, in some cases, confused about where to turn.

“We’ve had some people calling through to our hotline asking for clean-up crews to be sent to their homes,” Mr Dragisic said. 

“I just want to clarify that, Volunteering Queensland collects details of volunteers and then passes these on as needed by governments and disaster management agencies. These agencies then handle the individual deployments and duties of the volunteers.”

Individuals, businesses and residents who have been flooded and need help should contact their local councils.

Community Recovery Centres have also been set up throughout Queensland to provide a broad range of support and assistance for people affected by floods. Details can be found on the Queensland Government website, qld.gov.au/floods 

Organisations can request volunteers through Volunteering Queensland if they’re an agency that has a recognised role in disaster recovery or normally involves volunteers in their activities 

“This is usually not-for-profit, community organisations,” Mr Dragisic said.

If an organisation wishes to register to receive help from volunteers through Volunteering Queensland’s service they’ll need to:

  • Provide specific details of what they require (number of volunteers, type of work, time volunteers are required, length of engagement etc.)
  • Be responsible for accepting volunteers when they arrive on location
  • Provide specific role instruction to volunteers
  • Be responsible for support and co-ordination of volunteers
  • Follow insurance requirements.

To register as a volunteer, call 1800 994 100 or register online at volunteeringqld.org.au

I volunteered... what happens next?

16 January 2011

It’s the most frequently asked question being received by Volunteering Queensland and other agencies right now – “what happens next” for the tens of thousands of people who have put their hands up to help with the flood clean-up and recovery.

Volunteering Queensland CEO Jelenko Dragisic said people should not be concerned if they had not received a call yet, because the recovery effort would require volunteers for “days, weeks and months” ahead.

“It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint,” Mr Dragisic said.

“So while people do want to spring into action immediately, please keep in mind that the most valuable help you can provide may be next week or even next month. If you haven’t received an immediate call, please don’t feel overlooked.”

To help people understand how the Volunteering Queensland process works, the organisation has provided the following step-by-step explanation:

Step 1: Potential volunteers visit volunteeringqld.org.au and complete the registration form online or call 1800 994 100;

Step 2: Each volunteer’s details, including their location and the kind of help they can provide, are entered into Volunteering Queensland’s Emergency Volunteering CREW service;

Step 3: Agencies such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, government, and city and regional councils, contact Volunteering Queensland on a regular basis and advise of their immediate and long-term volunteer requirements;

Step 4: Volunteering Queensland searches EV CREW registered volunteers for those who match the requirements of the agency;

Step 5: Volunteers are contacted by Volunteering Queensland or directly by an agency to discuss the project and whether they can help.

Mr Dragisic said Volunteering Queensland had never seen a volunteer influx like the response to the Queensland floods.

“We think that this might be the largest, single outpouring of offers of volunteer support in Australia’s recent history – certainly in our experience,” he said.

“Volunteering Queensland is treating this as a long-term undertaking. We have ramped up our activities and capabilities to cope, and this will continue for many, many months ahead.”

“We expect that thousands of volunteers will be needed for months, so we ask people to keep putting their hands up, be patient, but be ready for the call whenever it may come.”

Over 3,500 volunteers offer their assistance for Queensland floods

12 January 2011

Volunteering Queensland has announced their new toll-free number and online registration have received over 3,500 offers of assistance from volunteers during the floods.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said the compassion and outpouring of support from people has been truly heartwarming, with over 2,000 offers to help flowing in during the past 24 hours alone.

“We commend the community for their outpouring of support; at this stage, Volunteering Queensland is collecting all details of willing volunteers through the Emergency Volunteering CREW service,” Mr Dragisic said.

“This service records the skills, location and availability of the volunteer and we are linking willing volunteers with disaster management agencies across Queensland, dependent on what volunteer support they require.

“Volunteers registered with EV CREW are currently being connected with opportunities at Brisbane City Council and the Red Cross.

“If you match an agency’s requirements you may be contacted by a member of Volunteering Queensland or a representative from the agency itself to discuss how you can help.

“We appreciate both the patience and compassion of willing volunteers and encourage those not yet placed to not get disheartened, the recovery process will take a long time and assistance will be required in many different forms.”

The EV CREW team are taking registrations on 1800 994 100 or online at volunteeringqld.org.au

New toll-free number to manage volunteer interest for Queensland floods

11 January 2011

Volunteering Queensland has set up a toll-free number for those who want to volunteer for the Queensland floods.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, said the number, 1800 994 100, will allow Australians to express their interest to assist during the lengthy recovery process.

“The country has seen the devastation of the floods and they want to help, this new number provides a central point to record all these offers of assistance,” Mr Dragisic said.

“We encourage people to call and register with our Emergency Volunteering CREW service and be prepared to help later, as various volunteer support will be required over the coming months.”

Volunteering Queensland works closely with key disaster management agencies and will notify volunteers registered with EV CREW of any opportunities to help with the recovery.

To register contact the EV CREW team on 1800 994 100 or visit volunteeringqld.org.au

Volunteer offers pouring in for Queensland floods

10 January 2011

Volunteering Queensland thanks over 250 volunteers who have offered their support to flood affected areas across Queensland.

Volunteering Queensland CEO, Jelenko Dragisic, praised the Australian public for their offers of assistance saying they make a difference during this long-term recovery process.

“We have received calls from all over Australia offering support to those affected by the floods, many from people who simply want to help with the disaster anyway they can,” Mr Dragisic said.

“We encourage those who want to assist to register with our Emergency Volunteering CREW service now and be prepared to help later.

“The recovery efforts will be extensive and volunteer support will be required in many different capacities during the weeks and months to come.”

Volunteering Queensland works closely with key disaster management agencies and will notify volunteers registered with EV CREW of any opportunities to help with the recovery.

To register visit volunteeringqld.org.au or contact the Volunteering Queensland EV CREW team toll-free on 1800 994 100.\


2010

Scholarships demonstrate commitment to strengthen volunteer management profession

5 November 2010

Volunteering Queensland announced today its commitment to increase the standard of volunteer management across the state by awarding an additional six full Volunteer Managers Capability Building Scholarships, in recognition of International Volunteer Managers Day.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Jelenko Dragisic, said the scholarships recognise the work of Managers of Volunteers and are an investment in furthering the professionalisation of the vital role they play in volunteer participation.

“We congratulate Queenslanders involved in volunteer management for their significant contribution to volunteering; this time around our scholarships will provide full qualifications to practitioners who demonstrate their need to up-skill and desire greater knowledge and skills to support their volunteers,” Mr Dragisic said.

“Supporting Managers of Volunteers to increase their capability is one of our highest priorities and the best way to do this is through the completion of a nationally recognised Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Coordination, which these scholarships will provide them with.”

Individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds, including indigenous workers in the nonprofit sector are strongly encouraged to apply.

Sixty-eight projects to boost natural disaster resilience

26 October 2010

Sixty-eight projects worth more than $26 million will be undertaken across Queensland to enhance community resilience to natural disasters, Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Queensland Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts announced today. 

Mr McClelland said the Queensland and Commonwealth governments would contribute more than $12 million to the total cost of the projects under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program, with the applicant and partner organisations also contributing funding.

“With climate change effecting weather patterns, it is likely natural disaster events in Queensland will be more regular and more severe in coming years," Mr McClelland said. 

“The Bureau of Meteorology has already warned Queenslanders to be prepared for a potentially intense storm season this year, with the chance of more cyclones, storms and associated flooding. 

“Queenslanders are well-practiced in preparing for storms, however we need to look further ahead and build resilience to natural disasters in communities across the state.  “We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand. If we work now to enhance resilience we can reduce the potentially devastating impact of these natural disasters in the future.” 

Mr Roberts said projects funded in the second and latest round of the NDRP ranged from flood mapping, to back-up power and generators for essential services and flood surveillance cameras. 

“Each of these projects has been selected because they assist the community better prepare for, and recover from, natural disasters like floods, severe storms and cyclones," Mr Roberts said. 

“The projects we are announcing today complement the 37 projects valued at more than $7 million funded in the NDRP's inaugural funding around."

"The NDRP is a four-year funding program with a total of $44 million being made available on a competitive basis to eligible organisations." 

One hundred and twenty-four funding applications for projects with a combined value of close to $64 million were made in the program’s second funding round. The applications were assessed by a committee comprising representatives of the Local Government Association of Queensland, Emergency Management Queensland, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Community Safety. 

“This level of interest from organisations across the state demonstrates the determination within the community to ensure we are better prepared for natural disasters now and into the future," Mr Roberts said. 

Volunteering Queensland received funding to build community resilience through the delivery of the Step Up Program.

Scholarships to recognise volunteer management profession

23 June 2010

Volunteering Queensland today declared the Volunteer Manager Capability Building Scholarships open, encouraging Managers of Volunteers to apply to have their skills and knowledge formally acknowledged with a nationally recognised qualification.

CEO of Volunteering Queensland, Jelenko Dragisic, said the ten scholarships, valued at $5,000, are an investment in the professionalisation of volunteer management across Queensland.

“Supporting Managers of Volunteers to increase their capability is one of our highest priorities and the best way to do this is through the Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Coordination on offer, which is why we have doubled the number of scholarships available this time round,” said Mr Dragisic.

“As the number of Queenslanders volunteering continues to rise and the ways people volunteer continues to change volunteer management has become increasing complex, requiring new thinking and innovative techniques, which highlights the need for accredited training to advance the profession.”

Visit volunteeringqld.org.au to apply for the Volunteer Managers Capability Building Scholarships. Applications must be received by 30 July 2010.

Media enquiries

National

 Kylie Hughes
 Volunteering Australia
 (02) 6251 4060

Queensland

 Vanessa Codling
 Volunteering Queensland
 (07) 3002 7617