Having the opportunity to lead the organisation that supports and advocates on the behalf of Tasmania’s volunteers was a key drawcard for incoming Volunteering Tasmania CEO, Alison Lai.
Alison, the former Manager Sport and Club Development with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, said that she was excited to be given the opportunity to step into this important role.
“I passionately believe that an active and healthy volunteering sector is the backbone that supports a connected and resilient community,” Lai said.
“As an active volunteer for more than 20 years, I know firsthand the significant impact of volunteering.
“Whether it be on the sports field, in a classroom, in the bush or in our homes, volunteers are providing an irreplaceable helping hand across Tasmania.”
With increasing pressures impacting the national heath of volunteering, Lai is setting her sights on forging strong relationships across all sectors that engage volunteers to ensure a united and strong voice for volunteering in Tasmania.
“The contribution of volunteering to the Tasmanian and national economy are very well documented, as are the personal benefits gained by those who volunteer,” she said.
“But there are pressures facing the volunteering industry which are creating a range of challenges that are impacting how people volunteer and how organisations support them.
“These issues are not impacting just one industry, they’re common across all sectors.”
Believing that there has never been a more pivotal time for the volunteer sector to work together, Lai says she plans to drive those discussions.
“Government funding for programs that support volunteers and the organisations that rely on volunteers is declining but demand for volunteers continues to grow,” she said.
“These are critical issues particularly for the delivery of essential Government funded community services, which rely heavily on volunteers.
“These discussions will important because I don’t think anyone likes to imagine a world where volunteering is not a key part of our Tasmanian way of life.”
Volunteering Tasmania Chair, Rachel Johnson said that Lai’s passion for the volunteering sector was evident.
“Alison comes to the role with an impressive business background but also an extensive personal volunteering story,” Johnson said.
“Alison is well known across the Tasmanian community through her work and volunteering roles and the Board of Volunteering Tasmania is looking forward to working alongside Alison as she leads our organisation, and our volunteering sector into its next stage of growth and success.”