THE volunteer flag is flying high in Sturt Street, after it was raised on Monday morning to mark the beginning of National Volunteers Week.
Volunteering Ballarat chief executive officer Geoff Sharp said a flag-raising ceremony was held across the country to launch the week.
“It’s the 25th annual National Volunteers Week, which celebrates and recognises volunteers and what they do for our community,” Mr Sharp said.
City of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris, along with volunteers from Friends of Sovereign Hill, raised the flag outside the Town Hall.
Mr Sharp said the flag would remain raised for the whole week.
Cr Morris said the flag-raising signified how important volunteers were to the community.
“Without volunteers, the city would stop. They do such a great range of things, from helping with art and sporting clubs, through to running the soup bus,” Cr Morris said.
Cr Morris said he had helped out in his younger days with St Vincent de Paul, taking children on camps for a weekend.
“Now, with my son playing AusKick, I help out there with the other dads.
“It’s a great way to spend my Friday afternoon.”
Following the flag-raising ceremony, where 30 organisations were represented, attendees made their way to the Town Hall for morning tea.
“On Saturday, we have the volunteer awards, but at the start of the week we recognise the organisations that use and support volunteers,” Mr Sharp said.
He said Volunteering Ballarat, a program of United Way, had worked with 130 organisations around the region to train or find volunteers.
“There would be many more,” he said. “If you counted every school, sports club, community group or service, there would be countless organisations in the region that use volunteers.”
Mr Sharp said Saturday night’s awards were a highlight of the week.
“People have nominated volunteers they work with, and the winners will be presented in a ceremony at the Regent Cinema.”
He said there would also be a display all week at Stockland Wendouree promoting volunteering and organisations using volunteers.
“Different organisations will also be running their own events, including morning and afternoon teas to thank their volunteers.”