Celebrate National Volunteer Week

This week is National Volunteer Week – a week in which to celebrate the dedication and hard work of the 6 million Australians who generously give their time each year.

The Minister for Social Inclusion, Mark Butler and the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, today welcomed the opportunity to thank Australians who contribute their time, energy and expertise to volunteering, doing everything from helping disadvantaged children learn to read to providing companionship to the elderly.

“National Volunteer Week, organised by Volunteering Australia and now in its 23rd year, is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteering in Australia. I encourage Australians of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in the celebrations and thank those Australians who continue to donate their time and energy to making their communities event better places to live,” Butler said.

The theme for this year’s week is Volunteers: Every One Counts, with events being held around the country from May 14-20.

“Volunteering is an essential part of an inclusive society, helping individuals and communities to develop and thrive,” Collins said.

“Volunteers are the life-blood for many not-for-profit organisations and essential to their survival and effectiveness.

“Australian volunteers contribute more than 700 million hours of unpaid work each year with the value of that unpaid labour estimated at almost $15 billion.   

“The Gillard Government is continuing its strong support for the volunteering sector, with another round of Volunteer Grants opening in the coming weeks.

“Last year, the Government invested $16 million in Volunteer Grants, with more than 4,600 community organisations sharing in these grants.”

In addition, the National Volunteering Strategy, released in November 2011 continues to guide the future of volunteering in Australia over the next ten years.

The Strategy explores emerging issues and challenges for the volunteering sector and provides a set of strategic directions to address them.

Further information about events for National Volunteer Week can be found atwww.volunteeringaustralia.org and information on available volunteer roles can be found at www.govolunteer.com.au. Information on the volunteering video competition can be found at http://volunteering.notforprofit.gov.au/.

The Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler has made a video to celebrate and thank Australia's volunteers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCmAaqi1xPQ 

Pro Bono Australia will follow National Volunteer Week with news and opinions throughout the week. Tell us about your NVW activities via email to editor@probonoaustralia.com.au.

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