VA Call for Funding Support Helps Volunteers
25 May 2009 at 5:33 pm
Volunteering Australia (VA) called on state and federal governments to ensure that funding to support volunteers grows in line with current demands during the recent Volunteer Week celebrations – a call that has garnered some success.
VA said demand was growing for voluntary services, particularly in the welfare sector as demand for welfare grows, exacerbated by the global financial crisis.
Volunteering Australia CEO, Cary Pedicini, said this placed huge demands on Not for Profit organisations which not only have to cope with the growing demand for their services, but have to recruit and train volunteers.
Pedicini said this comes at a cost for the infrastructure needed to support volunteers and it’s is important to remember that volunteers are not free.
He says volunteers relieve governments of the costs of services that they may have to provide if the volunteers were not so generous, but this is often not reflected in the funding provided to recruit, train and support volunteers.
He said volunteering comes at a cost and government support must increase to meet the growing demands or volunteering will suffer.
It is estimated that volunteers provide more than $70 billion of value to Australian communities.
The call from VA has seen both the Federal Government and the Victorian Governments announce funding packages to assist volunteering.
Fifty Volunteer Resource Centres around Australia will benefit from $10.3 million in Federal Government funding to support a skilled volunteer workforce.
As part of National Volunteer Week, the Minister for Community Services, Jenny Macklin, and Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Ursula Stephens, said this funding will provide support to the Volunteer Resource Centres over the next two years.
The funding will help enhance skills, training and resources in the volunteer sector and improve the capacity of the Not for Profit sector to deliver training to volunteers.
The Victorian Government also announced a new $9.3 million volunteering strategy .
Premier John Brumby and Community Development Minister Peter Batchelor released the Victorian Volunteering strategy, saying it is investing to support organisations in providing the best volunteering experience to continue to attract volunteers.
New initiatives in the volunteering strategy will include:
· The Premier’s Community Volunteer Awards which will involve an independent assessment panel. The criteria will be developed in consultation with community and volunteering groups;
· A new portal to include matching services, information and resources for community organisations and individuals wishing to volunteer;
· A major awareness and recruitment campaign to promote community participation, particularly by young people;
· Resources, support, and one-off grants to help community organisations attract more and younger volunteers.
The Strategy also includes an information campaign to recognise and thank emergency services volunteers for their contribution to Victoria.