Community members and volunteer groups met to thank people in Ballarat who work for no pay on Monday morning.
National Volunteer Week started with new United Way Ballarat chairman Wayne Weir welcoming volunteers to a morning tea at the city’s botanical gardens.
Mr Weir is also the Ballan Hospital chief executive and said the organisation relied on volunteers to function.
“We have 97 volunteers who do more than $1.3 million worth of work,” he said.
“Without them we wouldn’t be the organisation that we are.
“National Volunteer Week celebrates all of us coming together to recognise what we do for others.”
There are more than 190 volunteers in the Ballarat region.
A tree will now be planted in the botanical gardens as a permanent tribute to the Ballarat region’s unpaid workers.
Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh poured water onto the tree, which will be planted at a later date.
Cr McIntosh said a strong volunteer base was the true sign of a well functioning community.
“It tells me a huge amount that volunteering is something people queue up for,” she said.
“At Sovereign Hill there is a waiting list of people wanting to volunteer.
“Volunteering is a broad area of absolute need and we congratulate you for your efforts and your support.”
Community groups were also recognised at the event for the contribution of volunteers who worked with them in different roles.
Health sector organisations including St John of God Hospital, Ballarat Community Health and St John Ambulance Australia were recognised.
Other support groups presented with certificates were Pinarc Disability Support, Vision Australia, Lifeline Australia, Big Brother Big Sister, Meals on Wheels, UnitingCare Ballarat, L2P Program, the State Emergency Service and RISK Family Violence Support.
There were also a number of tourist groups recognised.
Sovereign Hill Museums Association and the Gold Museum were named, along with Federation University and Royal South Street Society.
United Way L2P Program coordinator Torie Campbell said the week would celebrate volunteers and finish with a festival at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Dawson Street on Saturday.