City with a culture of giving | Ballarat celebrates thousands of community volunteers

Almost one quarter of Ballarat’s population is a volunteer. 

That’s 29,810 people in the city who donate their time to make an impact in the community, a number higher than the national rate of 19 per cent. 

HELPING HAND: BotaniKIDS volunteer Fiona Walsh helps Mollie Arnts, 3 plant herbs a the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Picture: Rochelle Kirkham

HELPING HAND: BotaniKIDS volunteer Fiona Walsh helps Mollie Arnts, 3 plant herbs a the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Picture: Rochelle Kirkham

National Volunteer Week from May 21 to 27 is dedicated to celebrating their generous contribution.

Ballarat Volunteer Coordinators Network Executive Group chair Sue Jakob said the Ballarat community would struggle without the city’s thousands of generous volunteers. And the need appears to be increasing. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 22.1 per cent of the Ballarat population volunteered their time with an organisation or group in 2011. The rate rose to 23.2 per cent in 2016. 

“Smaller organisations that are almost solely volunteer run with one or two staff, wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for volunteers,” Ms Jakob said. 

“But I also think having volunteering enriches the community. It adds a culture of giving.”

Many of our organisations are always looking for more volunteers. The more volunteers we have, the more needs can be addressed.

Sue Jakob

The Gardner- Pittard building at Ballarat Health Services will provide a fitting location for Ballarat’s National Volunteer Week launch on Monday. The building is named after the first two women to be elected to the Ballarat Base Hospital board in 1928. 

Helen Gardner and Alice Pittard have been commemorated for their commitment and contribution to the community, and improving patient welfare. 

The Brown Hill community will celebrate the contribution of their volunteers on Sunday. More than 75 volunteers from groups across Brown Hill will be awarded certificates by MP Catherine King and City of Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh.

Meanwhile, The Courier feature the stories of volunteers in the lead up to the Ballarat Festival of Volunteering on May 26.