A dynamic group of community members presented as part of a panel and open discussion at the Volunteer West Annual General Meeting today. Sinead Mildenhall, Billy Burrows and Jason Whiter spoke about their experiences of volunteering in Melbourne’s West and ideas of how to improve engagement with volunteers.
Jason, who is vision impaired, made a call to action, saying “out west there is plenty of room where volunteers could be utilised”. He discussed his involvement as a volunteer with Vision Australia and explained that “not too many people are aware of services that are out there for them”. Sinead has volunteered in a number of roles and has enjoyed being a part of organisations….”volunteering has been about building community resilience and the long term effect of volunteering on my employment was outstanding”. Billy provided insight into younger people becoming engaged with volunteering, especially for a limited time…..”it’s difficult to discuss volunteering. People expect instant results and short turn arounds, so they think in short periods of time and volunteer for a short period”.
There was much food for thought for all those who participated. It was clear from the discussions that volunteering in the west is alive and well and that there are many people from all walks of life prepared to make a difference in their local communities.
“We need to take these great ideas and transform them into practice” says Volunteer West General Manager, Patricia Lauria. If you are interested in volunteering or finding out more ideas about managing volunteers contact Phuong MacCallum-Le on 93981233 or Phuong@volunteerwest.org.au