In this issue:

  • Experience Of Volunteers During COVID
  • From Our Local MP’s
  • Comings & Goings
  • Client Compliments

The Experience of Volunteers During COVID-19

SOURCE: VOLUNTEERING AUSTRALIA

Volunteering Australia commissioned the Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Social Re- search and Methods to undertake analysis of the experience of volunteers during COVID-19 to date. Their analysis draws on the ANU poll which involves a regular survey of around 3000 Australians that produces nationally representative results. The full paper and results are available at the ANU website.

This research is the first analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on volunteers and volunteering across Australia.

Key findings

Impact on volunteering

The decline in volunteering during COVID-19 has been substantial, with 65.9 per cent of volunteers estimated to have stopped volunteering between February and April 2020.

The researchers estimate that this reduction in volunteering is equivalent to 12.2 million hours per week.

  • Volunteers over the age of 65 were more likely to have stopped volunteering than other age groups.
  • Female volunteers were also more likely to have stopped volunteering compared to male volunteers.

Impact on life satisfaction and psychological stress

The survey showed that volunteers had a higher level of life satisfaction prior to COVID-19 than non- volunteers. The impact of COVID19 on life satisfaction and psychological distress varied by volunteering behaviour over the period, with those who managed to continue volunteering during COVID-19 faring much better.

  • All Australians, volunteers and non-volunteers, experienced a decline in life satisfaction between January 2020 and April 2020.
  • However, there was a significantly and substantially smaller decline in life satisfaction for those volunteers who did not stop volunteering compared to those who stopped or who never volunteered in the first place.

If those who had continued volunteering had experienced the same decline in life satisfaction as those that stopped, this additional decline in life satisfaction would have been equal to a drop in income of $216 per week. This suggests that maintaining volunteering activity appears to be a very important protective factor.

For those who continued volunteering, levels of psychological distress were also significantly and substantially lower than those who stopped volunteering and those who had never volunteered in the first place.

Policy and practice implications

This research provides vital evidence of the impact of the COVID-19 situation on volunteers. The findings have several implications for volunteering policy and practice, for example:

  • The scale of the cessation of volunteering reinforces the challenge ahead in reinvigorating volunteering. Organisations that have had to cease volunteer pro- grams because of COVID-19 restrictions are seek- ing guidance on how to re-start programs safely and to support volunteers in their transition back.
  • Because of COVID-19 restrictions, 12.2 million hours of volunteer work has been lost per week. The findings reinforce the power of the volunteer work- force and its contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of Australia. The nation needs these volunteers back supporting their communities.These new findings reinforce other research that has shown the mental health benefits of volunteering. As we move into the recovery phase, there is an opportunity to explore how volunteer opportunities might be extended to more people.

From Jason Falinski – Mackellar Federal MP

The Federal Government will provide a funding injection for 15 local community groups and organisations in Mackellar to support the work for local volunteers.

Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski said the funding would go a long way to support organisations and their volunteers through what has been a tough year.

“The bushfires had a devastating impact on many of our people and communities across the country and we are now living through a global pandemic,” Mr Falinski said.

“Volunteers freely give their time and skills to support others and will play a key role in communities over the next few months. This funding recognises the sacrifices they make to help deliver vital services to those who need it most.”

“While the work of our volunteers may be unpaid it is not unrecognised,”

“From fighting bushfires, delivering food to vulnerable Australians in isolation and helping out with the weekend sport, they are all local champions.

“Their contribution is vital to ensuring that we continue to support families, provide employment pathways for young people and strengthen community resilience.”

Mr Falinski said the funding injection coincides with National Volunteer Week being celebrated this week.

“It’s vital we acknowledge the important contribution of our local volunteers in Mackellar.”

Nationally, volunteering has an estimated annual economic and social contribution of $290 billion.

List of grant recipients in Mackellar:

From Zali Steggall – Warringah Federal MP

We are committed to having a diverse range of eligible organisations receive funding in Warringah.

This morning I had the pleasure of calling the recipients of the Volunteers Grant to tell them the good news. It was particularly nice to touch base with them since it is National Volunteer Week. Congratulations to the 17 successful organisations and a big thank you to all organisations who rely on volunteers.

Due to the current economic situation, Zali has written to the Prime Minister requesting that the Stronger Communities Program be brought forward and the amount of funding increased. This is a wonderful grant that is electorate based ie each electorate receives the same amount of funding to distribute and it has very broad guidelines regarding eligible applicants and projects.

Recipients of Community Grants In Warringah

Community Northern Beaches
Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter
Lifeline Northern Beaches
Pioneer Clubhouse
St Vincent de Paul Society
Stewart House
StreetWork Australia
Australian Breastfeeding Association (Warringah Region) Fight On the Beaches
Rotary Club of Mosman

You Can Have Your Say On What Concerns You By Contacting The Mp’s Office Via Their Website
Mackeller – www.Jasonfalinski.com.au
Warringah – www.zalisteggall.com.au

Comings & Goings

Welcome To New Volunteers!!!
Marianne , Lynn, Megan & Jim
We Hope You Enjoy Your Volunteering Journey With MWP Care!!

Farewell To Marcelle Who Has Been Administrator For Neighbour Aid For 8 Years.

We Wish Marcelle All The Very Best For The Future – Neighbour Aid Will Miss Her Smiling Face, Generous Kind Nature , Loyalty And
Solid Expertise!!!!!

Client Compliments

Without Mentioning Any Names Here!!!

Volunteer took a client and his wife to an appointment today, where the client was advised he will need to have a short hospital stay. His wife was upset by this and our volunteer offered assistance in filling out his pre admission paperwork. She took some time to try to make sure all was done correctly—the client called to offer his deep gratitude to the volunteer.

A client was taken was taken shopping by a volunteer. The client called especially to say that the volunteer was great. She used Google Maps on her phone to di- rect her to the client’s home because she wasn’t familiar with the area. The client thought the volunteer ‘did a great job and was wonderful!’

A client called after she got home to thank us for the effort and coordination that we put into making sure she man- aged to get to her appointments today. She was incredibly grateful to us and to our volunteer

From a client -’Every single volunteer she has had to take her to appointments or to help her shop have been lovely, and she believes it takes a special person to volunteer in the first place.’

Client is very impressed with our office staff and volunteers and she would like everyone to know ‘how wonderful they are’

A new client called to let us know that her volunteer driver was ‘courteous, sociable, a gentleman and a wonderful help for her journey ’

The niece of new client called to compliment a volunteer . She said the volunteer is a lovely, gentle lady who had some things in common with the client and that they had plenty to discuss during the client’s first escorted shop together . The niece accompanied the client on the shop and was so happy with the volunteer that she has asked if that volunteer would be available to assist her uncle every week.