Supporting volunteering in our local community

Central Goldfields Shire Council adopted the 2021-2024 Central Goldfields Volunteer Strategy and Action Plan at the August Council Meeting (24/08).

Implementing the Strategy and Action Plan will help support and increase volunteer numbers, who contributed almost $92,000 of value to Council services in 2020-21.

The Strategy and Action Plan has been developed in consultation with Council officers who manage volunteers, meetings with the Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre, one on one interviews with volunteers and a focus group session with local volunteers and volunteer organisations. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped shape the Strategy and Action Plan.

Establishing a Council-wide plan has been a priority since October as well as developing a Council-wide approach to volunteering, as well as developing a close and supportive working relationship with the Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre.

Central Goldfields Shire Maryborough Ward Cr Grace La Vella said volunteers are an essential part of life in the Shire.

“Volunteers are important to every community and in Central Goldfields, it is no different. In the Central Goldfields, we have a higher than average volunteer rate of 42.9 percent (according to the 2016 Census), compared to the Victorian average of 36 percent,” she said.

“This shows how much residents care about their local community and we, as a Council, need to do what we can to support our volunteers and continue our volunteer growth rate.”

Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre Steering Committee member Jeff Hoober said he, along with other members, are excited to see Council adopt the Volunteer Strategy and Action Plan.

“During this terrible time with the pandemic and people are getting lonely, volunteering is something we need to be talking about more,” he said.

“Congratulations to Central Goldfields Shire Council for adopting this Strategy and Action Plan. Councils now are engaging with the community more and it is so exciting to see this happening. Our Council is definitely leading the way with community engagement.”

Thank you for your feedback

Community feedback on the Draft 2021 Central Goldfields Volunteer Strategy and Action Plan has now closed. Thank you to everyone who made a submission

Council endorsed the Draft Strategy and Action Plan at the June Council Meeting.

The Draft Strategy has been developed to support and enhance volunteerism in the community.

It also provides direction for how Council will work with the recently established Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre.

The draft Strategy was developed through consultation with key stakeholders, the Maryborough Volunteer Resource Centre, local organisations and members of the community.

On 20 May, 2021, 20 volunteers joined Council for a focus group conversation about volunteering in the Central Goldfields Shire.

It was a valuable discussion, with participants generous in sharing their experiences of volunteering with Council.

In our conversations some of the themes we heard included:

- Volunteering gives people a sense of belonging and purpose, new skills, connection and an opportunity to contribute to the local community.
- In some cases volunteering can be costly and demanding.
- Some people find it difficult to volunteer due to family, work, study commitments.
- There is a need to attract younger people to volunteering roles.
- Volunteers need to be recognised, celebrated and feel supported
- Volunteer opportunities need to be child-friendly

The feedback shared has helped us to develop the Draft Volunteer Strategy and Action Plan.

Thank you to everyone who contributed.

The Action Plan has been developed with four areas of focus - promotion, recruitment, support and retention, and engage, celebrate and recognise.

Highlights include:

  • Campaign to promote volunteering opportunities and raise the profile of volunteers within our community.
  • Create a centralised system for the registration of Council volunteers
  • Introduce a platform for CGSC Volunteer Coordinators and volunteers to communicate and share information.
  • Introduce a series of initiatives to recognise, celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of volunteers within the community