Volunteers keep country’s wheels turning
The vital contribution of 1.2 million volunteers will be recognised and celebrated during National Volunteer Week from June 19-25.
The annual event is also a time to promote volunteer opportunities and encourage people from all walks of life to get involved with whatever is going on in their communities.
Check out organisations in your neighbourly.co.nz community or make a post offering your time if you’re keen to give volunteering a go.
There are many incredible volunteer organisations in New Zealand but here are a few that may have escaped your notice – and might just be in your own backyard:
1. Community Patrols NZ. A community patrol is a voluntary group helping take responsibility within its own area to help the police make their suburbs safer to live and work in. Local groups are often affiliated with Community Patrols of New Zealand. Community patrollers act as the ‘eyes and ears’ for police. Volunteers patrol their communities in pairs, taking note of anything that could be suspicious and informing police immediately of incidents requiring urgent attention. Patrollers usually hit the streets once a month.
2. Newcomers Network. Anyone settling into a new country will have a few immediate concerns to contend with. These include finding a home, a job and schools for their children. Beyond these initial needs are ongoing challenges such as making new friends, understanding the language, and familiarising themselves with the different customs of their newly adopted country. This is why the Newcomers Network was established. Some branches operate as part of the services provided by other organisations, such as a multicultural council. But all networks use the services of volunteers. Examples of events regularly hosted for newcomers include walking groups and coffee meetings.
3. Bellyful. Bellyful was organised around the idea that community members can offer support to new families or those who are facing a serious or terminal illness. Having someone pop around with a couple of cooked meals can provide some practical support in all of these situations. Volunteers get together to cook and freeze the meals, which are then delivered to needy families.
4. Hospice NZ. We are probably most aware of volunteers who help hospice with its street appeals, serving meals or working in the organisation’s retail shops. But did you know that many local hospices are seeking trained biography volunteers to spend time with patients – listening, recording, and discussing aspects of their lives. Interviews recorded by the volunteers are transcribed and given to the patients as bound books or in a digital format.
5. Forest and Bird. Volunteers for Forest and Bird are involved in planting trees and plants, pest control, making submissions to local government, and a host of other activities. This is one organisation that is bound to have a presence in your neighbourhood.
Volunteers band together to tidy up a waterway – can you spare a couple of hours week to help?