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City calls for input into Community Volunteering Strategy

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The City of Greater Bendigo is developing a Community Volunteering Strategy and is inviting residents to participate by completing an online survey, participating in an online forum or by attending a workshop.

City of Greater Bendigo Health and Wellbeing Director Vicky Mason said volunteering increases social connections and people’s sense of belonging, develops skills, and provides employment pathways.

“It is a crucial element of our civic culture and vital to the health and wellbeing of our community with 96 per cent of volunteers saying that volunteering “makes people happier,” Ms Mason said.

“Over 20,600 residents in Greater Bendigo regularly volunteer for an organisation.

“Official census statistics indicate that 23.1 per cent of Greater Bendigo residents aged over 15 volunteer, compared to 19.2 per cent Victoria wide.

“We believe that the actual figure may be higher for Greater Bendigo and that the official statistics may not represent the real level of volunteering that happens in our community.

“Many people are volunteers and don’t even realise it.  People who help out their neighbours and friends or assist at things like school working bees are informal volunteers and are often not represented in the formal statistics.  According to the 2016 State of Volunteering in Australia Report 46 per cent of Australians participate in informal volunteering.

“Community input into the development of the Greater Bendigo Community Volunteering Strategy will be crucial to understanding this and its success.   

“We hope that by developing the strategy we will gain a better understanding of why people volunteer, what types of volunteering they prefer and the barriers that stop them from volunteering.”

Participation in this process is as easy as completing an online survey, taking part in an online E-forum, attending a workshop or submitting a written submission. The community engagement process will continue until 31 October 2018.

You can complete the online Community Survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VolunteeringStrategySurvey   For more information on the strategy visit http://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/Your-Say

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