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National Volunteer Week celebrating Australian volunteers making a difference

From May 20-26, the nation will be celebrating the effort and support from Australia’s volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

Volunteer Lou Bonnici with Uniting AgeWell Kingsville Community resident, Shirley Dawes. [Source: Uniting AgeWell].
Volunteer Lou Bonnici with Uniting AgeWell Kingsville Community resident, Shirley Dawes. [Source: Uniting AgeWell].

The annual celebration acknowledges the contribution from volunteers who give up their time and expertise to help others while also relieving pressure on industries, like aged care.

For 30 years National Volunteer Week has been celebrated and is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in the Nation.

The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week is “making a world of difference” was announced by Volunteering Australia.

Throughout the week, there will be thousands of events hosted around the country to thank the six million volunteers.

Volunteering Australia is celebrating volunteers who are “making a world of difference” and acknowledging the huge cohort of formal and informal volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

Adrienne Picone, Volunteering Australia Chief Executive Officer, says volunteers in Australia are incredibly important to many different industries in the nation, including aged care.

“Australia’s volunteers provide a 450 percent return for every dollar invested. This is the equivalent of $290 billion in social and economic good,” says Mr Picone.

“This unpaid workforce provides indispensable support to organisations and communities, and deserve recognition for the substantial social, economic and cultural contributions they make at local, national and global levels.”

Volunteering Australia are celebrating the important week with an afternoon tea at Government House on May 21, hosted by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove.

Governor General says, “Volunteers make a world of difference to our communities and indeed our nation. National Volunteer Week is a week for all Australians to acknowledge and thank those who give back. On behalf of all Australians, to all the millions of volunteers – thank you.”

Volunteering Australia encourages everyone to get involved in volunteering and look into volunteering prospects in your local State or Territory during National Volunteer Week.

Uniting AgeWell is celebrating its team of more than 700 volunteers who selflessly give their time to enrich the lives of others for National Volunteer Week. 

Worth more than $25 billion to the Victorian economy, volunteers are incredibly valuable to aged care facilities, especially to non-profit aged care provider Uniting Agewell, who believes all their volunteers are priceless. 

Lou Bonnici, Uniting AgeWell’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year, has been an important part of the Kingsville Community team in Victoria for over four years. 

Ms Bonnici volunteers three days a week and providing friendship and support to the residents at Uniting Agewell’s Kingsville facility. 

She also helps the on-site hairdresser by sweeping floors and collecting clients; as well as setting up activities and attending daily outings for the lifestyle team. 

Ms Bonnici says, “There are times when I’ll do a one-on-one and go for a walk with a resident who likes to walk. 

“I might take a group outside to sit in the sun, go to the coffee shop, run the Bingo or, if we’ve got a concert on, I bring residents from their rooms into the lounge.  

“There are times when I’ll just pop in and say hello to residents because some of them don’t get a lot of visitors.” 

Starring in a video celebrating Uniting Agewell’s volunteers, Lou says her unpaid work is more rewarding than paid work. 

Ms Bonnici says, “Money doesn’t mean much. As long as you get the opportunities to make an older person smile or feel comfortable, that’s what it’s all about.

“When you do something and you see them smile as a result of it, that’s more rewarding than any money.” 

Andrew Kinnersly, Uniting AgeWell Chief Executive Officer, says volunteers like Lou provide a fantastic service to residents across the Uniting AgeWell facilities through friendship, resident assistance and support. 

“Our volunteers each make a valuable contribution to Uniting AgeWell and we are extremely grateful to them for doing so,” says Mr Kinnersly. 

“We could not provide the high level of care our clients enjoy every day without our loyal and devoted army of volunteers.”

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