Celebrating those making a difference for Volunteer Week!

HELPING OUT: Rachel Haynes, Caroline Menzel and Karen Fitzgerald, who have volunteered in sporting clubs, schools, and service clubs.
HELPING OUT: Rachel Haynes, Caroline Menzel and Karen Fitzgerald, who have volunteered in sporting clubs, schools, and service clubs.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and lend their skills and knowledge to a range of services, and their contributions are celebrated in Volunteer Week, which runs from 20-26 May 2019.

Caroline Menzel, the Limestone Coast Volunteer Coordinator, outlined the various ways that volunteers make a difference.

"Volunteers may work on a special project, or a one-off event, or be involved with an organisation for a long period of time," she said.

Volunteers are in sporting clubs, community groups, charity and aid organisations, emergency services (such as the CFS), broadcasting and media, education, the arts, health services, aged care, environment and conservation, history and heritage, and even in the workplace.

People who work in school canteens are volunteers, or employees who put their hand up to be their work site's first aid officer. Volunteers may spend one afternoon selling raffle tickets, or they may routinely lend their services to an organisation such as Meals on Wheels.

Caroline's work involves connecting volunteers with organisations which suit their skills and interests.

Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good without financial gain, but Caroline has found that people also want to volunteer to gain social connections within the community, or gain knowledge in a new area.

A volunteer coordinator also provides networking opportunities for volunteer managers, and develops volunteer projects and partnerships.

Almost 15,000 people reported doing volunteer work in the Limestone Coast in 2016.

Whether it was younger people supported by their parents to join a club, adults finding some time outside of work, or retirees wanting to give back to the community, all kinds of people volunteer.

Next Wednesday there will be a Volunteer Lunch at the Men's Shed at 12.30pm on behalf of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council, and it will also be Wear Orange Wednesday (WOWDay) with people encouraged to wear orange to recognise the work of volunteers in the SES.