This week marks National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to highlight the enormous contribution volunteers make to Western Australia.
The theme ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives’ reminds us that volunteers are needed more than ever, as we have seen during the recent bushfires and the COVID-19 response.
Volunteering WA, the State’s peak body for volunteering, launched an emergency volunteering website in April to recruit volunteers to assist community organisations in helping vulnerable people most at risk from the COVID-19 crisis.
Within less than 24 hours of launching the website, the organisation received more than 1,000 registrations and offers of help from the WA community.
“Once again, Western Australians have shown their generosity and spirit of community. Over 3,000 people offered to volunteer to help those most in need. Now is our chance to give our thanks to those who give so much.” Volunteering WA CEO Tina Williams said.
Due to the outpouring of support, urgent volunteer positions have successfully been filled across metro and regional WA areas, with more to be matched as the need arises.
Virtual celebrations across WA
Volunteers will be recognised across Western Australia during National Volunteer Week. Perth landmarks such as Parliament House and Optus Stadium will be lit up ‘volunteering red’ to acknowledge volunteers.
While COVID-19 has changed the nature of celebrations held this year, the spirit of the week will not be lost. Virtual celebrations will take place across WA – such as online games in the Wheatbelt and an art installation recognising student volunteering at UWA. Many organisations are also opting to hold volunteer recognition ‘parties’ via Zoom.
On social media, people across Australia will be showing a ‘wave of appreciation’ for volunteers by drawing a little smiley face on their hand and taking a snap to post on social media with the hashtags #NVW2020 and #waveforvolunteers.
The Minister for Volunteering, Mick Murray MLA looks forward to a week of virtual ‘waves of appreciation’. “Our volunteers positively change communities and lives every single day, and National Volunteer Week presents a wonderful opportunity to recognise their outstanding contributions,” Minister Murray said.