How can we better support our voluntary organisations?

The New Institute

Supporting our Volunteer Groups:

Not Just the “Mad, Sad and Bad”

Tuesday, May 11th, 7pm

The next meeting of the New Institute coincides with Volunteers Week. Whether it is social and sports clubs, youth groups, churches, service clubs, or voluntary carers, it is clear that Volunteers and Volunteer-based Organisations are part of the fundamental fabric of our society.  Despite their importance, however, many such groups are facing tremendous challenges.  Insurance requirements, OH&S rules, complex regulations, inadequate facilities, child protection, public liability, skills required for secretarial or bookkeeping tasks….the list is long.  Recruitment of committed volunteers is always difficult.  Socio-economic changes, less stable jobs and changes in family roles mean that fewer people seem to have with spare time to give to the community.

Volunteering is becoming seen as an activity for ‘active retirees’ and others without ‘busy jobs’.  Perhaps less kindly, it is seen as an activity only for the passionate enthusiast, the lonely, or those who seek personal aggrandisement or other rewards – the ‘Mad, Sad and Bad’.  Paradoxically, some volunteers are being proactively organised to fill necessary roles that would otherwise require paid employees – the volunteers are being exploited as free labour.

Volunteer’s Week is an appropriate time to celebrate the importance of both voluntary people and activities.  It is also a time to ask how the challenges to the volunteering fabric of our society could be better addressed.  This discussion will be opened by Tony Ross, Manager of the Hunter Volunteer Centre.  He will be joined by a panel bringing a wide range of perspectives including:- Louise Duff, Community assistance Co-ordinator at Newcastle City Council;  David Eland, CEO of Northern NSW Football; Gordon Patrick, Manager of Trees in NewcastleJune Cameron, Chief Commisioner of Guides for the Asia-Pacific; and Leone Woolnough, long-standing volunteer worker for a number of community groups, including Lifeline and Palliative Care in western Lake Macquarie.

The panel will workshop ideas aiming to identify potential new solutions to the challenges of volunteering and voluntary organisations. New Institute subscribers, friends, and the general public are requested to submit their thoughts (by email before the Forum). How could the Community, Governments, or Employers better help voluntary organisations? How could legal/Insurance constraints be addressed?  Where is the line between voluntary support and cheap labour?  Would better training for voluntary organisations be useful?

The ideas and discussion will be assembled into an aggregated report for further distribution to the media and relevant groups such as local and state governments.


Or, maybe you’d just like to make an online comment?  Click the word Comment above

MEETING OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC (subject to etiquette: see overleaf)
VENUE: South Leagues Club, Llewellyn St.  Merewether.
DATE: Tuesday 11th May 2010  TIME: 7.00 till 8.30pm  ADMISSION: $5
FURTHER INFORMATION:  Angie Di Lorenzo  0422 401129



One Response

  1. I wonder whether anyone would be interested to hear about what is happening this year to encourage students in Year 9 and Year 10 to see a value in volunteering? Click and submit your comment.

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