CatholicCare Tasmania Volunteer Program or Group Award: 2018 Finalists (in alphabetical order)

Kingborough Council Volunteer Program    

The Kingborough Volunteer Program (KVP) was created by the Kingborough Council’s Positive Aging Committee who were seeking opportunities to decrease social isolation in the community, as well as providing options for residents to remain in their own homes with dignity.

The KVP has made a measurable impact over the past five and half years as a dedicated social and support service for residents in Kingborough aged over 65. There are fifty two volunteers aged between twenty seven and eighty eight, many of whom are a similar age to the people they’re selflessly assisting. Their skills and activities are varied and include driving clients to medical appointments and shopping, walking pets, gardening, walks on the beach, travel to support groups, or trips to museums and cafes.

KVP has helped to enhance the lives of both clients and volunteers. There is an increased value on accomplishment, self-worth, fulfillment, and also new avenues for social interaction. Most clients advise they would not be able to remain at home without the valuable support of the Kingborough Volunteers, which also supports the client’s family, friends and neighbours by relieving the pressure on busy working extended families.


 RSL Launceston sub-branch: Australian Defence Force Welfare Team

Australian Defence Force Welfare, a sub-branch of RSL Launceston, exists because there has been a gap in the welfare system with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members hitting crisis point for a number of different reasons. These reasons include but are not limited to: mental health, relationships, housing issues and financial problems.

Most ADF members that are in this situation have issues with trying to access the basic needs while their claims are going through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA). The volunteer team provides access to housing, checks on health and mental health well-being, provides the basics, and access to DVA advocates.  Each participant is respected, supported and guided in a way that assists their current situation without judgement or criticism.

The program started in Launceston, but is now supporting people state-wide. Six volunteers are on the team at the moment and include people with lived experience in the ADF, experience in homelessness, family of returned service personnel, and more. The team has the personal attributes, abilities, and understanding to engage with people who have fallen between the gaps and generally do not trust the system. The program is self-funded by donations from the community, fundraising and applying for grants.


Tamar Island Wetlands Centre Volunteers Community Action in Reserves Group (CARes)

The Tamar Island Wetlands Centre (TIWC) Volunteer CARes group are a branch of Wildcare Inc. The twenty seven active volunteers operate the TIWC with support from a part-time centre coordinator, on behalf of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. The volunteers, ranging in age from twenty one to ninety, have been successfully running the TIWC since it opened in November 2000.

These volunteers are a truly inspiring and passionate group; their hard work, commitment, enthusiasm, and dedication is evident through the successful and continued operation of the TIWC. Their motivation to raise the profile of wetlands conservation and the benefits healthy wetlands provide is apparent with the increase in visitation to approximately 38,000 visitors to the reserve annually.

These volunteers individually show their strengths by participating in small projects of their interests, further contributing to the greater conservation outcomes. As a group they have formed lifelong friendships, and enjoy the social connections and shared experiences of being part of this team.  The volunteers are able to inspire and encourage new volunteers by the time and care they take, talking to regular visitors, displaying their passion for volunteering and the benefits to themselves, the community and the environment. The group are resilient and have remained united through the many changes that occur within the workplace and community.