The Albanese Labor Government is investing in the future of the volunteering sector with a funding boost designed to connect 5000 young people with volunteering organisations across the country.
This National Volunteering Week, a total of $1 million in additional funding will be given to Communiteer this financial year with the task of building the number of youth in volunteering roles.
Research shows that young people who engage in volunteering prior to entering the workforce are more likely to have a lifelong connection to volunteering.
Volunteering has been gradually declining since 2010 but experienced a sharp drop during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer numbers have not yet recovered.
The Communiteer program will target young people through universities, schools, sports clubs, representative groups and social media, along with other online communities.
Specifically the funding will deliver the following:
- Engagement with 5000 young people across a range of communities
- Induction, education, engagement and support for participating volunteer organisations
- Access to Communiteer’s online volunteering platform for participants
- The creation of an open-source ‘playbook’ for the volunteering sector for how to attract and retain youth volunteers
The funding for Communiteer will be complemented by a further $250,000 for Volunteering Australia to undertake activities to raise awareness and encourage engagement to support the National Strategy for Volunteering.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, emphasised the important role volunteers play in Australian society, and the Government’s focus on supporting the volunteering sector.
“We know that volunteers provide essential services in many different ways, whether it be helping out in times of disaster or crisis, supporting the most vulnerable people in our community, or assisting with community events,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Young people are the future of the volunteering sector and they have so much to give right now.
“This funding will ensure we can connect young people to volunteering who may not know the available pathways now.”
Assistant Minister Leigh noted the importance of volunteering to Australian charities and the community sector.
“Volunteers help to connect communities, but they also provide a valuable experience to those who give their time. For many young people, volunteering can be life-affirming. For some, it can be life-changing.” Dr Leigh said.
“Over recent decades, Australians have become less likely to join, volunteer and participate. As part of our work to reverse these trends, the Australian Government wants to ensure that all young Australians have the opportunity to volunteer in their local communities.”
More information on volunteering is available on the Volunteering Australia website.