Without volunteers, there wouldn’t be a City Mission. The sentiment, from chief executive Stephen Brown, holds true for most Tasmanian charities and not-for-profit organisations.
Often described as invaluable, the contribution volunteers make has always been difficult to measure or fully comprehend. But like many things, the impacts of COVID-19 have revealed just how crucial they are.
In City Mission’s case, we are talking about three-quarters of a workforce who have been impacted. Now, as many come to terms with the recovery phase from the pandemic, the question remains – how will many organisations continue to be viable if volunteers are unable to continue these traditional roles?
When the pandemic first hit Tasmania, many volunteers were immediately stood down or had their hours cut. Understandably, organisations had to quickly adapt their services to ensure the safety of staff and those they serve.
This was further heightened by the fact many Tasmanian volunteering roles are filled by seniors, who also happen to be one of the most vulnerable demographics impacted by coronavirus. This remains the case to this day, even without any active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
So as services slowly continue to resume and shop fronts reopen, many volunteers now find themselves unable to return to the role they once filled. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time we take a closer look at who is putting their hands up for volunteer positions.
After all, issues around volunteer shortages existed long before COVID-19 came into the picture. Like many things, this pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate how we do things. It’s also proven that, despite hard times, our sense of community and goodwill remains stronger than ever. We have also never seen such demand for services like those offered by the likes of City Mission.
Charitable donations are one thing, but the gift of people’s time and energy is clearly what many organisations are now crying out for. Will you answer the call?
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