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"Age Concern Applauds Volunteers"

Age Concern New Zealand welcomes the launch today of the International Year of Volunteers 2001.

"In Age Concern alone there are over 5000 volunteers, from all age groups. Their contributions are vital and we applaud their willingness to share their time and skills with others" says Margaret Guthrie, National President of Age Concern New Zealand.

"Older people contribute significantly to the voluntary workforce, both informally as caregivers of relatives and partners and grandchildren, and formally in a wide variety of roles in the voluntary sector. In fact around 15% of all unpaid work is done by older people," Dr Guthrie says.

Older people are volunteers in community groups and are advisors and mentors within business. They volunteer on boards and in schools, on the marae and in kohanga reo, within health and support services, volunteer as coaches and members of sporting organisations, contribute within arts and cultural organisations, and indeed in all sectors of the community.

"Volunteering can be emotionally and spiritually satisfying. It also contributes to our own physical and mental well being" says Dr Guthrie. "It is an opportunity to learn new skills and to continue to actively contribute to our communities.

"Equally important, volunteering provides an opportunity to share the talents and knowledge gained over the years with others who can benefit from that experience and wisdom," Dr Guthrie says.

As part of their contribution to the Year, Age Concern New Zealand, with the support of a grant from the Lottery Grants Board, is developing a fact sheet on volunteering. The fact sheet aims to encourage people of all ages, but particularly older people, to become volunteers, and will promote the importance of volunteer work. It will also suggest ways that organisations can value the work that their volunteers provide.

"Age Concern New Zealand is pleased to publicly thank their own volunteers and wishes to acknowledge the contributions all volunteers make to their communities," Dr Guthrie says.

ENDS

Age Concern is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation working to promote the well-being and quality of life of older people in New Zealand, since 1948.

For further information please contact: Dr Margaret Guthrie, National President (hm) 0-4-233 9016 or Claire Austin, Chief Executive (wk) 0-4-471 2709 (mobile) 025 243 6991

http://www.ageconcern.org.nz


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