This week is National Volunteer Week, acknowledging the ‘world of difference’ Australia’s 6 million volunteers make to their communities.
Running from 20 - 26 May, National Volunteer Week is celebrating 30 years and is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia.
Within the disability sector volunteers deliver key programs and services in a formal setting, with many more participating in informal volunteering through providing support and essential services for people living with disability.
Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Australia, Adrienne Picone acknowledges the invaluable support these people make to the lives of many Australians.
“Australia’s volunteers provide a 450 percent return for every dollar invested. This is the equivalent of $290 billion in social and economic good.
“This unpaid workforce provides indispensable support to organisations and communities, and deserves recognition for the substantial social, economic and cultural contributions they make at local, national and global levels.”
A 2016 State of Volunteering in Australia report released by Volunteering Australia acknowledged a misalignment in the level of community interest in volunteering in disability services compared to the number of positions to be filled.
It also found that the disability services sector was fifth-highest for unmet volunteer demand, behind community services, young people, education, and health (with some crossover between health and disability services).
Thousands of events will be held across the country throughout the week to say thank you to those who volunteer their time, including breakfasts, morning/afternoon teas, and luncheons, as well as open days, award ceremonies, picnics, forums and training sessions.