8 January 2018


ATTN: The Letters Editor

The Sydney Morning Herald



Response to SMH opinion piece on Volunteering


Catherine Walsh highlights the problem of Governments relying on volunteers to fill gaps in services, but her proposed solution – to stop volunteering – is not the answer (‘Volunteering doesn’t make the world a better place‘, 5 January 2018).

The suggestion that a sudden shortfall of volunteer labour would somehow make Governments wake up and actually fix broken social systems is, sadly, implausible.

Let’s remember, too, that people volunteer for many reasons… to help their kids’ sporting teams, keep active in retirement, make friends and connections, learn new skills, and combat loneliness or depression.

The good news is that all the research shows volunteering delivers huge health benefits to volunteers themselves including increased happiness, well-being, life satisfaction, and community connectedness.

So by all means, continue to write to politicians and campaign for more effective funding and service delivery from governments, but still say yes to volunteering.

Your health and community will be better for it.


Gemma Rygate

Chief Executive Officer

The Centre for Volunteering