Today, on International Volunteer Day we celebrate and thank the millions of volunteers across the nation who give their time selflessly to help and enrich lives.
Across Australia, it is estimated almost six million people volunteer through an organisation annually. This is almost one in three, aged 15 years and over.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the innovation and support shown by volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic is inspiring and has had a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of many in our community.
“Whether it is handmade cards, a regular morning phone call or even an aged care facility window visit while in lockdown, no matter how big or small the gesture, volunteers continue to play an essential role in connecting our community,” Minister Colbeck said.
“I want to particularly mention the 10,300 volunteers working in the aged care sector who are supported by the Australian Government’s Community Visitors’ Scheme.”
The Community Visitors’ Scheme funds a range of organisations across the country connecting volunteers with aged care residents, such as Co.As.It, which runs ‘Adopt a Nonna or Nonno’ for people from non-English backgrounds, and ‘Out & About’, which connects older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) people through peer friendships and community connections.
“The impact of these connections on mental health and wellbeing can be truly life-changing, for the volunteer and the recipient,” Minister Colbeck said.
International Volunteer Day is a chance to acknowledge the people who give back to their communities in a meaningful way, and to be inspired.
Find out more about the Government’s Community Visitors’ Scheme, to register your interest in volunteering in your state or territory or seek a volunteer for a senior Australian in your life, by visiting the Department of Health website.
As part of the Australia Day Council Senior Australian of the Year Awards you can also nominate someone who has made a significant contribution or difference to their community, like 2022 ACT Senior Australian of the Year Valmai Dempsey in recognition of her 50+ years of volunteering.
Additional volunteering resources can also be found through the following websites: