Volunteers across the Sunshine Coast are bucking national trends and staying active despite national numbers on the decline according to research by Volunteering Australia.
Once facilities opened after the COVID-19 lockdown, Sunshine Coast Council saw volunteer numbers and activity return to normal, with more than 2500 registered volunteers across council-managed volunteering programs.
This National Volunteer Week, 17–23 May 2021, Sunshine Coast Council has thanked volunteers for their unwavering dedication and time given to the common good.
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law shared his gratitude for volunteers and said it’s thanks to the help of devoted volunteers that council was able to deliver many of its programs.
“Volunteers who willingly give their time, efforts and experience for nothing in return are the backbone of our community,” Cr Law said.
“People such as Karen Anderson, one of our incredible TurtleCare group leaders who was nominated for the Queensland Volunteering Awards, make an enormous contribution through leadership to future generations and passion for conservation.
“This year’s theme for National Volunteer Week is Recognise, Reconnect and Reimagine, and I believe it’s an important reminder that we must give thanks to our wonderful volunteers, take time to reconnect with what’s important, and then think of new ways that we can support our volunteers and greater communities.”
To help celebrate this special week, Sunshine Coast Council is proud to partner with Volunteering Sunshine Coast for the upcoming Volunteer of the Year Awards to be held on 29 May at University of the Sunshine Coast.
Cr Law said this event partnership was a wonderful opportunity to recognise and celebrate the many volunteers across the region, including many individuals who volunteered through council-led groups.
“Through council-managed facilities and activity groups, there are more than 2500 volunteers registered and giving back to special places like Bankfoot House and Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve or to activities like Libraries’ literacy programs and BushCare’s tree planting,” Cr Law said.
“At the beginning of the pandemic last year, it was a sad but necessary requirement to pause many volunteer programs.
“While it’s been a slow return for some groups, we are happy to see volunteer numbers returning to their pre-pandemic status.
“That being said, there are always opportunities to give back, be it through volunteering for special events or looking out for wildlife while out and about.
“For those interested in volunteering through council, I invite you to visit our libraries, environmental education centres or other facilities, check out our website or have a chat with any of the council officers who look after volunteer programs.”
Council has several ways to get involved and give back to the community through council-managed programs. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/volunteering or check out the following programs:
Bankfoot House – Established in 1868, Bankfoot House is a state heritage listed property. Council employees and volunteers develop and deliver community activities at the property and, since 7 April, the doors at this historic site are now open longer than ever before, requiring more help from volunteers. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Volunteering/Bankfoot-House.
BushCare Sunshine Coast – This outdoor volunteer program supports the community to conserve and restore the region’s natural bushland in council’s environment reserves. Volunteering with BushCare is a great way to make a positive impact on the environment as well as meet new people, stay healthy and active, learn new skills and connect with nature. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/bushcare
Caloundra Regional Gallery – The gallery presents a changing exhibition program featuring leading local and national artists that explore the unique culture and character of the Sunshine Coast. Volunteers support with delivering services and activities for exhibition and education programs. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Volunteering/Caloundra-Regional-Gallery.
Environmental education centres – Volunteers at these locations enrich and enhance the life of the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary. Volunteers play a vital role in supporting a wide range of educational programs, research and conservation activities for each of the centres. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Get-Involved-in-Conservation/Environmental-Education-Centres.
Festivals and events – Council hosts a range of civic and community events as well as festivals throughout the year, many of which are grateful for help from enthusiastic volunteers to fill various roles. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Volunteering/Festivals.
Libraries – Sunshine Coast Libraries offer a number of volunteering opportunities including with literacy services, technology help, reader groups, Justice of the Peace and more. There are more than 270 library volunteers who help provide an important connection between the library and community. To learn more, visit library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Services/Volunteer.
Sunshine Coast Stadium – Stadium volunteers are important members of the event delivery team; the big events wouldn’t be possible without them. Most events offer a variety of volunteer roles, including ticket scanners, ushers, food and beverage attendants. To learn more and register, visit www.sunshinecoaststadium.com.au/volunteering/.
TurtleCare – This volunteer program aims to sustain an ongoing marine turtle monitoring program. The goal is to identify and record species, nesting locations, frequency and success rates of nesting activity. To learn more, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/turtlecare.