As any regional town or city knows, volunteers are frequently at the heart of everything a community does. Entertainment, events, fundraisers and working bees are where these people shine, and without them often these things simply would happen.
Wednesday, December 5 is International Volunteers Day, recognising volunteers worldwide. This years theme is “Volunteers build resilient communities” which has a special focus on local community volunteers who contribute to making their communities more resilient against events such as natural disasters and economic stresses, and is especially relevant in rural communities given the tough times people have faced throughout the drought.
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Many local clubs and organisations in Bathurst and across the Central West rely heavily on volunteers in order to help run facilities and provide their services. While some volunteers are part of a committee or volunteer through formal pathways, there are many others who freely give their time and expertise with little recognition or acknowledgement.
Adrienne Picone, CEO of Volunteering Australia, said that the impact of volunteers was indispensable socially, culturally and economically across the country. “One in three Australians volunteer in formal settings through organisations and institutions. This figure does not account for the millions of other Australians who informally give their time to volunteer through other activities and initiatives”.
Volunteering Australia is encouraging people to start volunteering in their local communities, as even short-term volunteerism can make a significant impact on societyAdrienne Picone, CEO Volunteering Australia
Australia itself has a high rate of formal volunteerism with over 36 per cent or 6 million people, over the age of 18, volunteering their time and knowledge to a wide variety of causes. The volunteer rate actually increases to 41 per cent when you focus on regional and rural areas, which shows strong community ties, a culture of working together and a willingness to help each other achieve.
For more information about International Volunteers Day or volunteering in your area, visit https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/.