24 May, 2024

Cheers to Volunteer Week

The vital nature of volunteering and its role in ensuring vibrant, cohesive and connected communities is in the spotlight during National Volunteer Week (May 20 to 26).

Caboolture Historical Village volunteers Karen and Steph.
Caboolture Historical Village volunteers Karen and Steph.

Following the release from Volunteering Queensland’s latest report two weeks ago, Volunteering Australia has now also released a report, highlighting the crisis communities are facing due to the dropping numbers.

“The demand for volunteers has increased by the ongoing impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, with Australians finding it difficult to prioritise volunteering, or to afford the costs that can be associated with volunteering, such as transport or fuel,” the report found.

The report also addresses a growing issue, namely the lack of young volunteers.

The report shows a quarter (26 per cent) of young people say they don’t volunteer due to financial reasons, while just over half (54 per cent) of volunteers say they’ve incurred out-of-pocket expenses from volunteering.

Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator at the Caboolture Historical Village, Beverley, has highlighted why organisations need young volunteers, namely to fill in the shoes of the long timers, most often elderly.

“We continually need more volunteers as many of our regulars are reaching retirement years and are either not well enough to continue or they have other interests they would like to pursue i.e. travelling”, she said.

Somerset Mayor Jason Wendt has echoed this continued issue, calling the cost of living and less young people volunteering a “double-edged sword”.

“The community benefit supplied by volunteers provides services that, if not done by volunteers, will need to be supplied by paid employment which will add a significant increase to the cost of living, or the community will have to do without some vital services,” Cr Wendt said.

“Decreasing volunteer numbers within organisations is putting more stress on those trying to continue the same level of community assistance and will inevitably cause the long-term failure of the service.

“That’s sad when the community will feel the effects and will have to pay for the service if they still want it.”

Cr Wendt also highlighted how important volunteers are in supporting the more vulnerable within the community.

“A lot of the community volunteers often go unnoticed and kudos goes to them for their service,” he said.

“I can’t thank them enough for what they all do, it makes you feel so proud to be part of such a close-knit community and we are spoilt given we are a rural community and rural people generally just roll up their sleeves and help their neighbours.”

CEO of Volunteering Australia, Mark Pearce, said that this year’s National Volunteer Week theme, ‘Something for Everyone’, highlights the abundance of new opportunities for people to participate and contribute towards positive change.

“There is a diverse array of opportunities for people in Australia to volunteer within their community alongside something they’re already passionate about,” he said.

“Problems in community are best addressed in community, and volunteers are a big part of that.

“People in Australia are already volunteering for a wide variety of organisations, from sport and recreation (25%) to environment (7 per cent) and animal welfare (5 per cent).

“Getting involved in volunteering can be as simple as sharing your expertise and interests, helping out in your local community, or drawing on your lived experience to support others. There really is a volunteer role for everyone.”

Caboolture Warplane Museum’s Marketing Manager, Jaye Thomas, puts the benefits of volunteering best: “In the end, isn’t the desire to share knowledge a universal thread that binds humanity? And so, in this realm of volunteers, it flourishes abundantly, transcending subjects and backgrounds.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities in your area, visit

Caboolture Warplane Museum’s volunteers: Jeff, Peter, Tom and Phil.
Caboolture Warplane Museum’s volunteers: Jeff, Peter, Tom and Phil.
Recently retired volunteer of 20 years, Sue White.
Recently retired volunteer of 20 years, Sue White.

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