It’s National Volunteer Week.
Each year Australian volunteers dedicate more than 600 million hours to help others, many of them here in Gippsland. However, compelling new research reveals the severe and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
The rate of volunteering through an organisation was already declining over time, from 36% in 2010, to just 29% in 2019 and now new ABS data reveals nearly one in ten Australians have not returned to volunteering in the past year.
This comes as three quarters (72%) report their organisation’s volunteer program was not fully operational whilst 42% were not confident that they will achieve pre-COVID levels of volunteering activity in the next six months.
At the height of the pandemic in Australia, two thirds of volunteers (66%) stopped volunteering altogether, equating to an estimated loss of 12.2 million hours per week.
Despite 43% of organisations experiencing an increase in demand for services, further data from the ABS reveals that in the last 12 months, only 3.6% Australians started to take part in unpaid voluntary work, while just under one in five (17%) volunteers have continued donating their time.
The theme for National Volunteer Week is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine.
RECOGNISE, celebrate and thank volunteers for the vital role they play in our lives.
RECONNECT to what is important by giving our time to help others and ourselves.
REIMAGINE how we better support volunteers and communities they help.
Volunteering Australia says volunteers make our communities stronger, especially during times of need, crisis or isolation. The organisation is calling on all Gippslanders and all Australians to ‘wave your appreciation’.
Wave Your Appreciation for Volunteers
You are invited to put your hand up and thank the millions of volunteers around Australia with a special smile. The Wave Your Appreciation campaign is back to recognise the great work volunteers do each and every day. You can share a photo of yourself waving your hand of thanks and using the hashtags #NVW2021 and #waveforvolunteers.