Celebrating National Volunteer Week: NSW Forum
May 16th, 2023
“Volunteers are changemakers in every possible way,” says CEO Gemma Rygate, as National Volunteer Week kicks off. “They are lifelines for many people.”
We were pleased to kickstart National Volunteer Week (#NVW2023) with our annual NSW Forum, hosted in the beautiful Members Dining Room at the newly renovated Parliament House. This was an invaluable opportunity for champions of the sector to come together for an afternoon of ideas and exchange.
As our esteemed guests took their seats, it was impossible not to reflect on this year’s theme for National Volunteer Week. These were, and are, “The Change Makers” in our sector. In a world of new ideas, new technologies, new consciousness, changemakers play a more important role than ever before.
Following a beautiful and moving Welcome to Country from Uncle Michael West, we heard from Helen Freeland, the Chair of the Board at The Centre, who shared her love for volunteering as “such a special part of our community“. CEO Gemma Rygate echoed this, emphasising that volunteers, whether they are on the frontlines or quieter in their work, are “part of the fabric of Australia” and “work in all spheres of life“.
It was an honour to hear from renowned and respected Australian journalist Tracey Spicer AM, a prolific changemaker in her own right. Tracey enthralled us with stories of changemakers, from the suffragettes to personal anecdotes of “rattling the cage” to inspiring tales from around the world.
“When you want to create change,” she says, “you must take risks.”
Tracey also acknowledged the challenges that our sector faces – as well as the opportunities, with the greatest driver for success being diversity and inclusion.
“You get more than you give when you’re volunteering,” she says. Even still, it’s important to give volunteers the status and recognition they deserve. “People want to feel good about what they’re doing.”
With the NSW Forum coinciding with the official launch of the 2023 Awards, our ambassador Paula Duncan AM also expressed her admiration for the volunteers who “help make our community a better and a safer and a healthier one to live in“.
With over 5 million volunteers in Australia (believed to be an underestimated number), the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards offer us a chance to fully recognise the breadth of community spirit that thrives across the state. If you haven’t already help us celebrate your local legends, unsung heroes and community leaders by putting forward your nomination today.
We also wish to congratulate Susan Whitby who was awarded her certificate of completion for the Certificate IV in Coordination of Volunteer Programs as part of the afternoon’s celebrations. We would also like to extend that to Fiona Lawson and Sarah Silcocks, who were absent but no less accomplished in their achievement.
To find out more about our nationally recognised training program, offered through the through NSW School of Volunteer Management [RTO code 90031], visit our website.