Volunteering Australia welcomes the news delivered by the Department of Social Services that funding for the Volunteer Management Program will be reinstated, following our Tower of Strength campaign.
Under this Activity, $19.95 million in funding is dedicated to Volunteer Management Activity from 1 January 2018 until 30 June 2021.
Volunteering Australia CEO Adrienne Picone said, “We are delighted that through our sector-led campaign, we have retained designated funding for Volunteering Support Services. Volunteering Australia’s Tower of Strength campaign highlighted the vital role that Volunteering Support Services provide in promoting sustainable volunteering programs.”
The Department of Social Services has also announced, the Strong and Resilient Communities (SARC) grants round has opened.
You can read our full media release on the announcement here.
Volunteering continues to play a role central to our identity as a nation
Volunteering is a tower of strength in our communities with 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population volunteering, making an estimated annual contribution of $290 billion to our economic and social good.
Volunteering touches every section of Australian society including, but not limited to education, emergency services, sport and recreation, arts and heritage as well as the social services. The far-reaching contribution volunteering makes builds strong and resilient Australian communities.
The redesign of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants to take effect from 1 January 2018 does not include a volunteer management stream of funding specifically allocated to Volunteering Support Services meaning volunteering will be forced to compete alongside other worthwhile projects from across the community services for broader pools of funding that respond to themes of disadvantage.
These proposed changes to funding have the potential to rip the heart out of place based Volunteering Support Services. This year, the Strong and Resilient Communities grants are delivering $5.7 million in funding to on-the-ground programs as part of the volunteer management stream of funding. To lose this would be an enormous blow to communities who rely on the volunteering programs that this funding delivers.
*Volunteering Support Services (also known as Volunteer Resource Centres or Volunteering Support Organisations) provide place-based volunteering support services to volunteers and volunteer involving organisations in their locality.
A vital role
Volunteering Support Services promote, resource and support volunteering in local communities across Australia. They provide infrastructure in communities to lead, enable and build capacity to recruit and retain volunteers in a wide variety of organisations and services.
The role of Volunteering Support Services in connecting and empowering local communities is vital. For the first time in almost twenty years, the number of people formally volunteering in Australia was reported as declining in 2014, down to 31% from 36% in 2012. Volunteers are also being recruited to support the work of the Government and its policy priorities in more and increasingly innovative ways including supporting the NDIS.
The National Advocacy Campaign promoted the vital role Volunteering Support Services play in promoting safe, effective and sustainable volunteering programs and the need for the Federal Government to continue to retain designated funding for Volunteering Support Services.