20 June 2008
Kiwis Feast on Volunteering
Kiwis around the country have been inspired to volunteer during Volunteer Awareness Week.
Statistics from Volunteering New Zealand show a huge leap in numbers visiting the Volunteer Now website www.volunteer.org.nz where people can search for volunteering opportunities throughout the country.
Volunteer Awareness Week was held throughout New Zealand (15-21 June).
Members of ComVoices, a coalition of organisations in the Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector, said the week celebrated the work of the more than 1 million New Zealanders who volunteer, and successfully encouraged many more New Zealanders to take up the volunteering experience.
Dave Henderson, Coordinator of the Association of Non-Governmental Organisations of Aotearoa (ANGOA) says volunteering is a key strand in building strong and cohesive communities.
"Volunteering is about fulfilling a community need, building a sense of trust and belonging," says Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand.
A report, released during Volunteer Awareness Week estimates that almost 80 percent of volunteers have also donated money or goods in the previous 12 months.
The report 'How do New Zealanders give?' was produced by Nick Jones & Associates Ltd and the Office for the Community Voluntary Sector. It draws on data collected in 2007 through the "Consumer who Care" service, as part of Nielsen Media Research Panorama, one of New Zealand's largest consumer surveys, engaging 12,000 people annually.
The research reinforces that New Zealanders who volunteer also contribute in many other ways to their communities.
"Volunteering is key to the fabric of New Zealand society," says Jo Lake, National Executive Officer, Presbyterian Support Services New Zealand.
"Volunteers are core members of most New Zealand social organisations, working tirelessly to support our communities," says Jo.
Wendi Wicks, National Policy Researcher of the Disabled Peoples Assembly says there is a groundswell of interest in the community about what giving and generosity means for the social capital of the country.
Recent changes to the tax system have made it even more attractive for New Zealanders to give and also recognise that Government funding alone will not provide for the many people in need in our communities.
Kevin Haunui, General Manager, Funding Information Service says, "The challenge now is for all New Zealanders to consider how they contribute to their communities – either through time or resources – and to act on that,"
To find volunteering opportunities in your area visit: http://www.volunteernow.org.nz/jobs
For more information on activities during Volunteer Awareness Week visit: http://volunteeringnz.blogspot.com