The City of Boroondara is celebrating community volunteers and highlighting the opportunities available for both volunteers and organisations seeking assistance during National Volunteer Week.

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration that recognises the contribution of volunteers nationally. It runs from Monday 20 May to Sunday 27 May this year.

Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Jane Addis expresses her gratitude to City of Boroondara’s volunteers.

“A big thank you to all of the many volunteers who help to make Boroondara such a special place”, says Cr Addis.

“Boroondara residents are very community-minded. In preparing for the Boroondara Community Plan, we spoke to nearly 12,000 of our residents and one of the things they told us was very important to them, was a sense of community”.

Council actively encourages and supports volunteering through the Boroondara Volunteer Resource Centre (BVRC), an initiative which offers a range of free services to support both volunteers and community organisations seeking help.

One of the many services provided through the BVRC is the Volunteer Skills Bank (VSB). The VSB allows skilled individuals to donate their time by aligning them with suitable projects and roles within community organisations. It also provides community organisations with a platform to promote skilled volunteer opportunities for no cost.

A volunteer who recently completed a skilled role is Fahad Bhatti, a practicing Occupational Health and Safety specialist. Fahad had previously volunteered in Pakistan educating underprivileged children and was seeking a meaningful way to give back to the community in Boroondara.

Karen Hansen, The Epilepsy Foundation’s volunteer manager, needed someone with professional skills to evaluate safe workplace practices, ensuring they were in place for staff, volunteers and clients who accessed the organisation’s building.

The BVRC team were able to connect Fahad and Karen, which provided Karen with invaluable support for the specific project and allowed Fahad to share his expertise and refine his skills in a new workplace environment.

“If you can’t donate money to charity, donate your time”, Fahad said. “You can make a difference in the community by doing something you’re passionate about”.

Karen encourages other community organisations to consider how a skilled volunteer can use their specialised skills to enhance a program, project or event.

“We are a lean team so we rely heavily on volunteer support. Fahad has approached our project with fresh eyes and it’s extraordinary”.

The Volunteer Skills Bank currently has 340 registered volunteers, with expertise ranging from project management to photography.

Volunteers interested in donating their time can register their details with the VSB to receive regular email alerts about skilled volunteer opportunities.

Boroondara has the highest rate of volunteering in the greater Melbourne area, with 26% of the Boroondara population (35,999 people) reporting that they performed voluntary work in the 12 months prior to the 2016 Census.

View Cr Addis’ video, Thank you to our volunteers.

For further information about volunteering, see Volunteering.