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Council adopts Community Volunteering Strategy

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The Greater Bendigo City Council has adopted a new Community Volunteering Strategy 2019-2023 at last night’s Council Meeting.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the strategy aims to develop a culture of volunteerism in the community; improve coordination of volunteering through collaboration and partnerships; improve and increase volunteer support; and improve and increase the capability of volunteer leaders, community organisations and groups.

“Volunteering contributes to the community’s social fabric though social connection, participation, and by providing much need community services. It also improves the health and wellbeing of our community,” Cr O’Rourke said.

The 2016 ABS census indicates that 23.1 per cent (or more than 20,600 residents) of Greater Bendigo residents (24.5 per cent female and 21.6 per cent male) aged 15 and over formally volunteer with an organisation.  This figure is higher than the state of Victoria’s 19.2 per cent.

“We know the formal rate of volunteering is lower than the real rate – as it doesn’t include informal volunteering such as helping neighbours or family.  Informal volunteering is estimated to be approximately 6 per cent nationally, so the actual rate of volunteering in Greater Bendigo is likely to be around 30 per cent.

“The volunteering landscape is changing significantly.  Changes in demographics, the availability of volunteers and the motivations of volunteers are impacting on the volunteering sector.

“The strategy aims to respond to this changing volunteering landscape by providing a framework to guide volunteering across the community.

“Its themes are based on what over 740 residents and 70 community organisations told us during the strategy’s consultation process.

“The residents and organisations with volunteers told us they would like flexible volunteering options to meet people’s changing needs; more public education, advocacy and promotion of volunteering; accessible and affordable training for volunteers and volunteer leaders; and improved coordination of key volunteering events and activities.”

Some key actions of the strategy include:

  • The establishment of a Volunteer Reference Group to guide the coordination of community events and inform community education and advocacy about volunteering.
  • Research and implementation of a public information and advocacy campaign around volunteering in Greater Bendigo.
  • Facilitate access to affordable skills training for volunteer leaders and volunteer organisations.
  • Promote and encourage diversity in volunteering for all groups within the community.

The Community Volunteering Strategy is available to view online at  : http://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/Services/Community-and-Care/Community-Volunteering

 

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