Volunteering Victoria announced 9 recipients at its fifth annual State Awards held at Queen’s Hall at State Parliament House on Wednesday 20 November 2019.
“The State Awards celebrate the important contributions volunteer-involving organisation, leaders of volunteers and volunteers make to individuals and their communities.” stated Scott Miller, Chief Executive of Volunteering Victoria.
Volunteering Victoria has a strategic commitment to recognise the combined efforts of volunteer managers, volunteer-involving organisations and volunteers that allows for change to take place.
“Meaningful volunteering does not happen spontaneously without the support, the guidance, management and leadership of leaders of volunteers and their organisations. Without these stories, we are merely an echo chamber” adds Miller.
The Awards covered seven categories: Innovation, Excellence, Excellence in Grassroots Organisations, Collaboration for Community Impact, Inclusion, Employee Volunteer Program and Local Government. A panel of judges drawn from the volunteering sector considered nominations and picked the winners.
Mercy Connect Project Melbourne is a project of Mercy Works Ltd which provides in-school mentoring and tutoring, delivered by volunteers, to students from asylum seeker, refugee and humanitarian backgrounds. The program is run by volunteers and led by an unpaid coordinator, with just one paid person providing administrative support. This program has demonstrated long term benefits for the students, their families, and for the greater community, and demand for the program continues to grow.
Melbourne Writers Festival
The Festival provides a high-quality volunteering experience to over 200 people each year and in 2018 the International Student Engagement Program was piloted with the aim of offering Melbourne’s international student community the opportunity to be part of a major arts festival, and to broaden MWF’s relationship with the international student community. Following the success of the 2018 pilot MWF continues to engage the international student community through this program and in 2019 doubled the number of international student volunteers.
Knox City Council
Knox City Council has a dedicated Volunteering Business Partner to bring centralised support and strategic advice to the management of volunteers across the Council. In 2019 Knox held a signature volunteer recognition event entitled ``Moments that Matter``, an exhibition which celebrated volunteers through photographic stories with support from Councillors, The Mayor and the CEO. Knox Council has been working towards the implementation of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement, through a consultation process and the development of templates and new processes.
Campaspe Murray Volunteer Network
Campaspe Murray Vibrant Volunteers Project has worked to build bridges between organisations, volunteers and coordinators across the Campaspe Murray area. Strong rural communities have volunteering at their heart; with over 200 new volunteers inducted in 2018, the Campaspe Murray Vibrant Volunteers Project has played a significant role in building the capacity and strength of the partners working in the Campaspe Murray area.
In 2018 a total of 22 ORIMA Research employees contributed 264 volunteers hours, supporting the education outcomes of 22 children at Spring Parks Primary School and in 2019 a total of 25 ORIMA employees have already volunteered over 150 hours. Program evaluation highlighted that 93% of volunteers said they feel their workplace is making a positive contribution through its involvement with Ardoch and 88% said that the experience made them feel proud or very proud of working that their workplace.
St Kilda Mums
St Kilda Mums has offered a structured workplace volunteering program since 2015 and has a long-standing relationship with a number of corporate partners who book regular days for their employees to attend. In FY18/19 over 1000 corporate volunteers contributed over 7000 hours. For many corporate volunteers, it is a unique and rewarding experience – they have a great sense of pride and achievement when a donated item is transformed into a beautiful gift with the knowledge that it will be quickly in the hands of a family that needs it.
Golden Square Pool
Last summer, Golden Square Pool launched their Junior Volunteer Team program at the swimming pool community hub, to help foster and grow the ideas, enthusiasm and drive of young people within the Golden Square and Bendigo communities. The first year of the program had 18 young people aged 5-18 involved, and revolved around offering mentoring opportunities by other volunteers, teaching money handling, being part of a team and serving customers, undertaking maintenance –and the most important thing, youth learning the value, importance and power of being part of a community who are working to provide health and wellbeing opportunities for all people.
Country Fire Authority (CFA)
Heading into summer its hard to imagine anyone not having heard of the Country Fire Authority. CFA (Country Fire Authority) is a volunteer and community based fire and emergency services organisation. CFA helps protect 3.3 million Victorians, and more than one million homes and properties across the state. A team of 30 CFA volunteers staff and local traditional owners (from across Victoria) went to the Gulf of Carpentaria to participate in Jigija indigenous fire training. This program has allowed volunteers and staff to learn about traditional burning practices, biodiversity and create a strong connection between the organization and traditional owners.
Operating in both Victoria & Queensland, Court Network has grown to a huge team of 450 volunteers who they refer to as Networkers. The role of these Networkers is to provide a link between the court system and the community, with their service philosophy based in the belief that anyone who comes to court is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. The program is built around wellbeing, so there is a strong emphasis on debreifing and mental health support, with volunteer shifts capped at one day per week and extra care taken to help Networkers develop self-care strategies. Continual training and support is provided to support leadership development, and a minimum number of 5 places on the board are kept open for volunteers.