‘Thanks a million’ is the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, 13-19 May. More than six million Australians volunteer, contributing to their communities in myriad ways. A substantial proportion of that number is volunteering in rural and remote communities.
Rural populations have higher rates of ageing and ill health, and many families in rural and remote areas face the challenges of poverty and unemployment.
The scope for volunteering in these areas is large. There are charities needing staff for their shop fronts, community groups needing drivers and mentors, and sports clubs searching for managers and coaches.
Log onto GoVolunteer at www.govolunteer.com.au which is an online tool enabling you to search for available volunteer positions. All positions advertised are with not-for-profit organisations and you can search for opportunities by location, organisation type and position. It has descriptive and inspiring stories about volunteering written by people of all ages and backgrounds.
Another way to volunteer is with Indigenous Communities Volunteers, a not-for-profit organisation which provides opportunities for volunteers to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to build sustainable communities in a number of ways, contributing to a stronger future for them. More information about Indigenous Communities Volunteers can be found at www.icv.com.au or by ringing the toll-free number 1800 819 542.
Australian Volunteers International, an independent not-for-profit organisation, provides opportunity for volunteers to support rural and remote populations in other countries in our region. Their work focuses on reducing poverty, providing health and education services, promoting human rights and gender equality, and protecting the environment. Their website, www.australianvolunteers.com, lists the countries where they work.
During National Volunteer Week 2013 the state peak bodies of Volunteers Australia will be holding a series of state-based events. To find out what is happening around your area, or to add a community event and to recruit a volunteer for it, visit the link below.