Volunteers and those seeking them will be able to connect easier than ever with a new website launched this week.
Taking its cue from job-seeking websites, the NSW Volunteering site has been designed for organisations to post vacancies for local volunteers to discover.
Volunteering Minister Ray Williams and Seven Hills MP Mark Taylor were joined by volunteers and organisations at Toongabbie Sports Club to launch the new site on Monday.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our community. The more people who volunteer locally, the stronger we are together as a community,” Mr Taylor said.
“I encourage all members of our local community to explore volunteering opportunities by registering for the free and easy-to-use website.”
Among the local help was Reinhard Stark, who was able to put his skills to use with an expected organisation through a work for the dole program last year.
The former journalist was linked to Karabi Community and Development Services and, in addition to helping senior citizens with shopping and driving, he also started work on a Memoirs program.
Mr Stark has since published the invaluable memories in five books published by Karabi.
He said volunteering was a great opportunity to put his talent to good use and develop new skills.
“What makes it easy is it’s a very relaxed place. You’re really helping someone and you’re helping yourself,” Mr Stark said.
“You’re learning social skills and you’re making someone happy, which makes you happy. Any person could just jump into it. There’s no-one who should come in and find it pretty unpleasant, it’s the opposite, and a lot of people should be encouraged to do it.”
Mr Stark said the volunteer role had given him a range of experience with clients including children, the elderly and people with a disability.
He has since found paid support work in disability care, but continues to volunteer at Karabi.
He also said volunteer experience would benefit students before they enter the workforce.
“This looks good on your resume. The background in social skills is very good for future job prospects,” Mr Stark said.
“I think it should be compulsory, because once that’s established in a teenager their outlook is changed.”
Mr Taylor echoed Mr Stark’s sentiments, saying volunteering has benefits for individuals and the community.
He said more than 2.1 million people contributed 240 million hours of their time in NSW annually, which was worth around $5 billion.
Mr Williams said the NSW government was committed to supporting the “rich volunteering spirit” in the state.
Nearly 3,000 roles are already available on the website.
To find out more about a local volunteering opportunity or post a vacancy, go to volunteering.nsw.gov.au.