2020 National Volunteer Week

Honouring volunteers: National Volunteer Week 2020 takes place Monday, May 18 to Sunday, May 24 and will shine a light on the vital work done by Australia's volunteers. Picture: Shutterstock
Honouring volunteers: National Volunteer Week 2020 takes place Monday, May 18 to Sunday, May 24 and will shine a light on the vital work done by Australia's volunteers. Picture: Shutterstock

National Volunteer Week 2020 kicks off Monday, May 18 to Sunday, May 24.

However, as the country grapples with the coronavirus crisis, this looks set to be a week unlike any other.

With many Australians facing unemployment, and volunteer numbers significantly reduced due to social distancing measures, organisations are struggling to keep up with demand.

Despite the challenges, Volunteering Australia CEO, Adrienne Picone, said celebrating Australia's army of volunteers has never been more important.

"Volunteers are a vital part of the response to the situation currently and into the future," Ms Picone said.

"Despite the restrictions currently in place there are still a good number of volunteering roles available across the country," she said.

With many Australians with extra time on their hands, an increasing number have been looking for ways to help others during the current crisis.

However, Ms Picone urged people to be cautious when taking on informal volunteering activities to avoid putting themselves and others in the community at risk.

Instead, Volunteering Australia has encouraged people to register their interest with peak bodies in each state and territory.

"If people are interested in volunteering the best place to start is by contacting their state or territory volunteering peak body and, for currently advertised roles, they can visit GoVolunteer.com.au," she said.

Ms Picone stresses that keeping safe and following regulation is essential when looking to volunteer.

"Safety remains paramount and Volunteering Australia recommends that volunteer involving organisations consider carefully the safeguarding of their volunteers."

This includes considering issues of privacy and self-care and making sure individuals avoid putting themselves and others in the community at risk.

How to get involved

If you'd like to get involved but don't know where to start, here are a few key ways:

  • Contact the volunteering peak body in your state or territory for information about opportunities including up-to-date information about registering for emergency volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit Go Volunteer to look for current opportunities, both related to COVID-19 and for organisations who may have a shortage of volunteers due to COVID-19.
  • Check in on your neighbours and people in your local community, taking into account the guidelines around social distancing, isolating if you are unwell and you should continue practising good hygiene.
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