In times of crisis, volunteers step up to help and provide crucial support to all sectors of our community. So, we’re stepping up to make sure that volunteers right across our city are recognised for the significant contributions they make each and every day.
National Volunteer Week 2020 will be celebrated from Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May with the theme ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives’.
“During these challenging times living under COVID-19 restrictions, it is perhaps more important than ever that we give thanks and acknowledge the valuable contributions made to the Maroondah community by volunteers,” said Mayor of Maroondah, Councillor Mike Symon.
“There are over six million people who volunteer annually in Australia, representing 41 per cent of the adult population, and we are fortunate to have an enormous number of people in Maroondah volunteering their time to assist the many groups who provide a range of services and activities to our community,” Cr Symon said.
Latest census data shows there are around 668,000 Australians aged 65 and over volunteering their time to different charities, organisations and community groups.
“Many of our city’s regular volunteers are retirees, which means some will fall into age categories (65 and over) that make them at higher risk of severe symptoms if they are infected with coronavirus. Because of this, some of our usual volunteers are unable to carry out their regular volunteering commitments,” he said.
While Council has put a hold on some of its regular volunteering activities to protect the health and safety of volunteers, services like Delivered Meals are continuing to ensure Maroondah’s most vulnerable residents are looked after.
“We know that as a community our best possible recovery will depend on our volunteers, and once it is safe to recommence these activities we’ll need our volunteers more than ever,” Cr Symon said.
“We’ve been focusing on the good in our community through the COVID-19 pandemic – a big part of that is the generosity, kindness and goodwill of Maroondah residents and their willingness to lend a hand in this time of need.
“These are not only regular volunteers, but everyday people who have freely given their time to help others. Individuals, groups, children and their families have sprung up across the municipality ready and willing to do whatever is required to help each other keep going during testing times.
“We have heard many stories of people taking the time to call or check in on neighbours, particularly our elderly and most vulnerable. Others have donated to local foodbanks, or have been helping parents, grandparents or seniors in our community stay connected through use of technology, whether it be showing how to download a podcast or audiobook or teaching them how to FaceTime or video conference,” Cr Symon added.
“No matter in what capacity volunteers choose to help, they deserve to be recognised. These are people who willingly give their time for no other reward than knowing they are helping someone else and contributing to the greater good of the community.
“This includes the many exceptional young people who volunteer in various ways, be it through leadership and advocacy roles at schools or in their community, lending a hand at their sporting club or SES branch, or helping out at their local church or amateur theatre group.
“And it’s thanks to our 400-plus volunteers that 34 individual Council-run services and projects are offered to our community, such as Meals on Wheels, bushland renewal projects, social support, and youth programs such as the L2P driver mentoring program.”
Cr Symon said the benefits of helping others cannot be underestimated.
“As most volunteers will tell you, they get so much more out of volunteering than they give. Volunteering provides purpose, a sense of self-worth, social connection, increased health and wellbeing, as well as development of skills that can provide a pathway to employment,” he said.
“Volunteering doesn’t have to be arduous, it can be a few hours here and there or something larger, depending on the person’s availability, health, fitness and skills.
“National Volunteer Week is a chance to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities and be a force that transforms the world.
“On behalf of Council I want to thank each and every volunteer for the contribution they make through their involvement in community organisations right across Maroondah.
“And to those who have reached out to someone or helped out in some way during the current pandemic, your incredible generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness has lifted people’s spirits and strengthened our resilience as a community, and for this we are truly grateful,” Cr Symon said.
Acknowledging our volunteers
Wave your appreciation for volunteers
Volunteering Australia invites you to put up your hand and thank all the volunteers in your community and around Australia by waving a special smile of appreciation from your own home. Upload your wave photo to social media and share using the hashtags #NVW2020 and #waveforvolunteers and tag Volunteering Australia.
Online Certificate of Appreciation
Why not send a ‘virtual thanks’ to a volunteer to show that you appreciate them. Through the Volunteering Australia website you can send a free online Certificate of Appreciation directly to your volunteer’s email.
Become a volunteer
Find out how you too can make a rewarding contribution by becoming a volunteer. Council has a range of opportunities with Home and Community Care, Youth Services, Delivered Meals, Social Support Program and more.
See our Volunteer page