‘We feel like match makers. We see a whole other world out there. We all know the traditional volunteering roles but it is amazing when you also get to know all the non-traditional roles and the different ways volunteering can help those who are keen to participate and those who offer them places. We want people to enjoy what they are doing, after all, they are doing it for the love of it.’ We caught up with two of the three paid workers at Volunteering Geelong. Alison Duff, 10 years in her role and Lucinda Tucker, 7 years. Volunteering Geelong was established on August 22nd 2000.
‘We help people who might be new to the area or new to volunteering. There are lots who are over 55 and volunteer 15 hours a week to gain the Newstart allowance. Our ‘Step by Step’ project helps those with disabilities. We also connect people with non-English backgrounds and international students.
‘Sometimes we interview people to establish their skills. Mind you, there was the time we met a good accountant who would have been perfect for many organisations but he insisted that he didn’t want to be in an office and went out planting trees instead. People might utilise their skills in different ways and we can match them with their interests. Often positions might be vocational opportunities and used as pathways to work. We help lots of Uni students.
‘Our ‘Bite Size’ Volunteering positions might suit students or professionals returning to work. These arose from a study of baby boomers. These people want to use their skill set to help others. We’d get them to write a succinct one-page resume which we’d put to organisations who’d match them with short-term volunteer projects. We see it as the future, organisations are starting to think differently.
‘The whole culture of volunteering is changing. There is an extraordinary diverse range of opportunities available and people are becoming aware of the value it adds to the community. There was the Utopia vs Dystopia debate and the question was raised ‘what if all volunteers went on strike?’ Imagine that!
‘There are over 350 organisations registered with us and 1,000s of volunteers involved. You can access positions directly online. https://volunteeringgeelong.org.au/
‘Our core business is in maintaining the data base that is Australia wide, which is linked with seek.com and govolunteer.com.
‘We also work with volunteer managers and hold training and development for them and for volunteers. We partner with agencies in the region to deliver these. It is all capacity building.
‘We acknowledged the value of volunteers a couple of weeks ago when, in partnership with Kardinia Rotary, we held the Geelong Volunteer Awards. Eight awards were presented to a diverse range of volunteers. It was rewarding looking around at the smiles of people’s faces and to hear them sharing their stories. Find out more here https://volunteeringgeelong.org.au/blog/2017/12/7/geelong-volunteering-awards-2017
Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: Trevor Cooke Photography. Winners of the Geelong Volunteering Awards. We were proud to see Bec Picone, one of our team members, among the winners for her amazing work with Peace of Mind.