City of Roses is also City of Giving Back
ALMOST one quarter of Warwick residents volunteer their time for the community.
Statistics show 24.5% of the population - or 6583 people - volunteer their time in a form of unpaid work.
To celebrate International Volunteer Day (which was yesterday), residents are being encouraged to recognise the contributions volunteers make to the Southern Downs, Queensland and the rest of Australia. It could be the parent who helps out at the canteen at a weekend sports game, or a person who picks up rubbish in a park.
Based on current opportunities listed online, volunteers are needed most in special events, conservation and aged care in the Warwick area.
Figures from Volunteering Queensland show the most popular choice of volunteer work is sport and recreation, followed by religious and community welfare.
Data also shows there are 1.2 million people who volunteer in Queensland, and this is not expected to change anytime soon.
Even with time pressures in modern times, Volunteering Queensland chief Perry Hembury said there was no evidence to show the number of volunteers was declining.
But he said certain trends were changing.
Mr Hembury said 'time-poor' and young people were often attracted to volunteer work that involved new technology and innovative projects.
"Many people are attracted to emerging forms of volunteering that involve episodic engagement or by shorter project driven work or events or by opportunities to volunteer 'virtually' and so on, weekend or after-work opportunities," he said.
Statistics show the fairer sex volunteer slightly more, with 36% women compared to 34% of men.
People aged in the 45-54 year old group had the highest rate of volunteering.
Mr Hembury said volunteers came from different ages, backgrounds and professions.
"The value of volunteering cannot be overstated - participation through people's time, skills and passion adds to a proud culture of giving in our society, contributing more to the economy than some high-profile industries," he said.
- 24.5% of Warwick residents volunteer
- 1.2 million volunteers in Queensland
- Volunteering is more common outside capital cities
- Employed people have a higher volunteering rate than those who are unemployed or not in the workforce
- In Queensland more than 50% of voluntary work is less than 10 days per year
- Two out of three people who volunteer go through an organisation
To find volunteering opportunities in your area, go to linkki.volunteeringqld.org.au/dotnet/volunteer
Local vollie realises her love for helping others
BEFORE becoming a volunteer four months ago, Margaret Bennett had no idea just how important the job was.
"There are lots of places that wouldn't be able to do what they do without the help of volunteers," she said.
"I didn't realise just how enjoyable it would be."
In August, Warwick- born Mrs Bennett applied to volunteer at The Oaks nursing home, the same one her mother, Elspeth Lucas, had spent the last three years of her life before her passing in June.
"Before I chose The Oaks I had to think to myself 'do I want to go back there', but it wasn't a hard decision... I'm loving it," Mrs Bennett said.
Of a Monday and Tuesday morning and all day Thursday Mrs Bennett heads along to help run activities such as bingo, craft and choir.
"Without volunteers I don't think there would be as many activities for the residents," she said.
"Because it's a high care facility the nurses are tied up caring for residents.
"Our role is different, we're there to say hello and listen to their stories - it's the social side... and it's really interesting listening to what they have to say.
"What I like about volunteering at the Oaks is that you never know what you're going to get... with work you'd get up, have a shower, go to work and it was all very set out.
"Here you just take it as it comes and go with the flow."
Despite being in an environment many would consider challenging for no pay Mrs Bennett said the work is busy, not hard.
"My mother had dementia so I had some idea of what I would be working with," she said.
"I always thought when I finished work I'd look into doing volunteering, and now that I have, it's something I'll keep doing for as long as I can."