The report sets out the key findings and makes recommendations to support volunteering in the settlement sector. Volunteers are the lifeblood of Australian communities. More than 5.8 million Australians are volunteers – that is 31 per cent of the population. It’s more than double for refugees and migrants, with our research indicating that 65 per cent supported their communities through their volunteering work within the first 18 months of their arrival to Australia.
Volunteering brings social inclusion, community resilience, participation and social cohesion to communities. It also helps to ward off isolation and loneliness. Many volunteers in the settlement sector are from a migrant or refugee background. They have benefited from the volunteer work of others in their communities and use their lived experiences to help other new arrivals.
Key insights from the report:
- 65 per cent of new arrivals engaged in volunteering within the first 18 months of their arrival to Australia.
- People mainly volunteer as a way to contribute to society, make friends, improve their English, and/or gain local work experience.
- There are personal and professional benefits from volunteering.
- Organisations gained many benefits from their volunteers.
- More than two-thirds of organisations surveyed reported that they and their volunteers need more formal support, and would benefit from funding for training programs, supporting material, and from forming new partnerships and sharing resources.
SOURCE: Volunteering Australia and Settlement Council of Australia. “Volunteering and Settlement in Australia: A Snapshot.” Volunteering Australia and Settlement Council of Australia, 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia