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Actively Contributing to our Community

Volunteerism and the contribution volunteers make to our region was fitting the theme for our final Program Day. Volunteering is worth in excess of $25.4billion (excluding travel) to the Australian economy. And whilst this economic value is often overlooked, participants dug deeper as we broke down the construct of the hierarchy of valued volunteer roles in our community and the barriers that people may experience to being able to contribute and participate as volunteers in our community.

The fact is there are so many voluntary roles that need to be filled for everyday programs and services that help our community function and to improve our wellbeing.

As an example, when the Warrnambool and District Hospice began the death rate at home in Warrnambool was at only 15%, it is now over 50%, this valuable service provides both volunteers and the families of those needing palliative care, compassion and the capacity to live their remaining time in their home. The respectful approach to both the Hospices’ volunteers and the families utilising this service is inspiring.

Another example is Foodshare. In 2017 Warrnambool Food Share fed over 12,500 people including 2000 families, that is over 6000 local children who would’ve gone hungry without their assistance. Together with community donations Food Share has then been able to redistribute over 125,000 tonnes of food to families of need. This highly efficient program runs with the support of 3,600 volunteer hours each year and many local individuals and businesses contribute with generous donations of resources such as transport costs.

The leadership, positive culture and passion was evident at the Warrnambool SES led by Commander Georgio Palmeri. Professionalism and expert training coupled with passion creates a formidable force when faced with emergencies and the lives saved and impacted from this cohort of volunteers is amazing.

Regardless of what you do or how often you do it, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you – the volunteers of our community.

With thanks to SES Warrnambool Commander Georgio Palmeri for hosting us, Dr Bernadette Northeast, Dr Eric Fairbank, Director of the Warrnambool and District Hospice and Dedy Friebe Executive Officer, Foodshare.

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