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Manjimup support group set to show volunteers how to ‘calculate’ their contribution to community

Anjelica SmilovitisManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Co-ordinators and volunteers Andrea Mcmahon, Amber Castlehow, Chris Bussanich, Deb Jones, Jenny Ross and Calvin Davis for the Be Connected group session on Tuesdays.
Camera IconCo-ordinators and volunteers Andrea Mcmahon, Amber Castlehow, Chris Bussanich, Deb Jones, Jenny Ross and Calvin Davis for the Be Connected group session on Tuesdays. Credit: Anjelica Smilovitis/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

A volunteering advocates group is giving a live demonstration on how to calculate the monetary worth of volunteering, in an effort to show the community the true value of the contributions.

Southern Forest Volunteers project officers Ann Bentley and Deb Jones said the group provides opportunities throughout the year to support volunteers and organisations with training and social events.

“Many volunteers don’t understand how much of a contribution they are making sometimes. We’re going to show them how the organisations calculate the volunteers’ (monetary) worth,” Ms Bentley said.

“Organisations need to treat them the same as they would employees in terms of occupational safety and training.”

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Recognising the value and skill set people give to an organisation is a key part of this week’s National Volunteer Week theme — Something for Everyone.

“It’s not a paid job and you do it a bit for love, but it’s still nice to be recognised and to celebrate,” Ms Bentley said.

Southern Forest Volunteers acts as a third party for people to discuss volunteering concerns, alongside finding the right organisation to suit community members’ skills and interests.

“Depending on where a person is volunteering, quite often they need support to get into the position,” Mrs Jones said.

“There is paperwork and training so SFV does the initial induction and helps them find the right organisation.”

Mrs Jones said SFV also supports volunteers with Centrelink reporting and police checks.

“It’s very important for volunteers that they are doing worthwhile work,” she said.

“They want to feel they are respected like an employee. They want to feel they are making a contribution and it’s within their skill set, and they want to feel a part of the organisation,” she said.

The sundowner event being held in Manjimup on Thursday will include a demonstration to show attendees how much their contribution makes to an organisation and the community at large.

Ms Bentley said when organisations calculate how much volunteers give of their time, people are often surprised how valuable their contribution is.

Volunteering WA chief executive Tina Williams said 1.5 million people volunteer across the State, contributing $63.9 billion in social and economic benefits to the community.

She highlighted the largest motivation as helping others but factors also include being active, having fun and connecting with others.

“There really is a volunteer role for everyone, and getting involved can be as simple as sharing your expertise and interests, drawing on lived experiences to support others, and helping out friends and neighbours,” she said.

The SFV’s sundowner events are held monthly, providing a space for connection among the Manjimup community. Volunteer organisations also attend to talk about how people can become involved and the benefits.

Thursday’s sundowner will be held at the Southern Forest Community Landcare’s new office, located at the former Top Notch Cafe.

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