Volunteers in Bayside
There are many diverse ways to volunteer in the community. Parents contribute their time and labour towards school councils and committees, fundraising, working bees and assisting teachers in the classroom. Members of sports and recreation clubs run events and activities, fundraise and serve on management committees. Welfare organisations rely on volunteers to distribute emergency relief, counsel and refer people to support services, and serve customers in opportunity shops. An emerging trend in volunteering is individuals taking up issue-based activism and research, often on-line.
Motivating factors also vary – some volunteers want to share their existing skills with others whereas some want to develop new skills and knowledge for future employment or personal development. Volunteering can be a way to make new friends and to re-engage with the local community.
The most recent community survey of adult Bayside residents on volunteering activity found that 41 per cent currently volunteered. Figure 1 shows that more Bayside women than men were volunteering - 48 per cent of Bayside women, compared to 32 per cent of Bayside men. Volunteering activity was highest for Bayside residents aged 35-49 years – half of the Bayside adults in this age group were volunteering with many of these likely to be parents of children involved in school activities and sport. More than half of Bayside volunteers (57 per cent) ‘worked’ up to ten hours a month on average (one-two hours a week).
There were clear differences between Bayside males and females, and younger and older Bayside residents. Bayside males tended to volunteer in sports and recreation clubs/activities whilst females tended to volunteer in the education and learning sectors, aged and disability organisations and in community/service groups.
Bayside residents aged 18-34 years, and those aged 50-64 years, volunteered mostly in the education and learning sectors. Bayside residents aged 35-49 years volunteered mostly in sports and recreation clubs/activities. Older adults aged 65 years and over volunteered mostly in community and service groups.
The current Bayside City Council Plan commits to “supporting, recognising and valuing volunteerism and building community capacity to attract, support and retain volunteers”. Within Bayside City Council itself, there are approximately 450 community volunteers working across a range of program areas including Delivered Meals, social support for the elderly, environmental groups (Friends Of), libraries, youth services and arts and culture.
The consultation findings for the Bayside 2020 Community Plan Our City, Our Future highlighted the importance of volunteering to the Bayside community, and the need for improved coordination and linkages between potential volunteers and local organisations. A wide range of local organisations coordinate their own volunteer ‘workforce’ including public hospitals, community information and referral services, emergency relief providers, community health services as well as charities, schools, sports clubs, emergency services and service clubs.
For further information on statistics about volunteering and unpaid work, contact the Research Officer on 9599 4444 or visit www.bayside.vic.gov.au/statistics
Page last updated: 25 Jun 2015