Sector Petition to Retain Funding for Volunteering Support Services
Wednesday, 12th April 2017 at 3:24 pm
Volunteering Australia and the state and territory peak bodies have called on the not-for-profit sector to sign a petition to the Senate calling for retained funding for volunteering support services.
Volunteering Australia chief executive officer Adrienne Picone said: “The Tower of Strength campaign aims to promote the vital role volunteering support services play in promoting safe, effective and sustainable volunteering programs and the need for the federal government to continue to retain designated funding.”
The petition asks the Senate to:
- recognise the important role that volunteering support services have in building strong and resilient communities; and
- retain funding for volunteer management and volunteering support services at the current level of between $6 million and $7.5 million in the 2017/18 budget.
“The redesign of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants to take effect from 1 January 2018 does not include a volunteer management stream of funding specifically allocated to volunteering support services meaning 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,” Picone said.
“This year, the Strong and Resilient Communities grants are delivering between $6 million and $7.5 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.
“Volunteering support services are place-based organisations that promote, resource and support volunteering in local communities.They empower people to volunteer and help ensure that their experience is positive and safe.They help the thousands of community organisations that rely on volunteers to recruit, retain and manage those volunteers.
“[They] underpin safe, effective and sustainable volunteering.The loss of funding for volunteering support services will weaken volunteering in communities because key resources, services and development programs will be lost.”
In February Volunteering Australia warned that the dismantling of the Strengthening Communities grants and the introduction of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants in 2018 would have a major impact on the volunteer sector.
The warning came as the Department of Social Services (DSS) revealed that volunteer support services would no longer be eligible for their own pool of grants funding.
The redesign of the Strengthening Communities grants program into the new Strong and Resilient Communities grants program is expected to start from 1 January 2018.
Picone told Pro Bono News that having the new funding framework undertaken by DSS would see the sector no longer have the infrastructure that supports organisations to recruit and retain the volunteer workforce.
“This has disappointed Volunteering Australia as the move demonstrates the federal government’s continued undervaluing of the role of volunteering in building strong and resilient communities,” Picone said.
The petition to retain funding for volunteering support services can be found here.