Federal Budget Offers Little for Volunteering – 11 MAY 2017
Volunteering has been sidelined this week in the Federal Budget, according to Catherine Cini, CEO of GriefLine.
“While GriefLine recognises that $10 million has been allocated towards volunteer grants for 2017 – 2018, this funding does not acknowledge the backroom work undertaken to ensure effective volunteering,” Catherine Cini said.
GriefLine works with around 200 professional allied health volunteers who are the backbone to the not for profit’s free and anonymous loss and grief telephone and online counselling services across Australia.
Each year the volunteers receive around 52,000 telephone calls from people seeking support, reach 2,000 people through its education programs on loss and grief, and supports just under 600 people through its personalised programs.
“Combined, the volunteers provide 48,000 hours of their own time each year for a service that is referred to by LifeLine, Beyondblue, hospitals and the police,” Ms Cini said.
“Our counsellors help people through difficult times. Helping getting somebody back on their feet and fully productive is good for everybody. Yet the budget seems to have forgotten the role of volunteers and their management,” she added.
GriefLine is partially supported by the Victorian and Federal Governments. However, it relies substantially on donations, grants and trusts to fund its work. The work includes in-depth training for each volunteer.
Ms Cini said that there are 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population who engage in formal volunteering activities and programs, making an estimated annual economic and social contribution of $290 billion.
GriefLine is Australia’s only dedicated loss and grief helpline service that provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals and families. These include: telephone support; online counselling; in-house one on one counselling; education and training and health support programs. Callers to the GriefLine Helpline have the opportunity to share their stories anonymously and confidentially with someone who will listen and support. griefline.org.au
John Myers on (03) 9818 8540, 0409 215 120, firstname.lastname@example.org