Volunteer Program of the Year Award was introduced in 2017 so that volunteering involving organisations can nominate their volunteering program or group. Volunteers can also nominate their own group, or community members can nominate an exceptional volunteering group which has influenced their lives in a positive way. This Award aims to highlight the amazing things that volunteering groups can do and have achieved across Tasmania.
The finalists are:
Australian Wooden Boat Festival Volunteer Program
The Australian Wooden Boat Festival is the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting more than 200,000 visitors over four days. Run every two years, the festival has about 350 volunteers who take on numerous roles including boat handlers, communications officers, safety staff, stagehands, forklift operators, information counter staff, photographers, guides, speakers and drivers.
In 2017 the festival created a $30 million boost to the Tasmanian economy, with 52% of the attendees from interstate and overseas. This is an amazing achievement from an event produced predominantly by the volunteers.
The festival encourages social engagement, new friendships, training in new skills and a profound respect for Tasmania’s long maritime heritage. The collective spirit of the AWBF volunteers is truly remarkable and it expands far beyond a shared enthusiasm for wooden boats and sailing. A collective, can-do attitude is woven into the fabric of the AWBF Volunteer Program, making it a resilient and self-sustaining program.
Cancer Council Tasmania
Cancer Council Tasmania’s transport2treatment program is a no-cost service for patients who have face hardship in accessing cancer treatment. It aims to reduce the financial and emotional burden of cancer by providing transport, with the driving undertaken entirely by volunteers.
The program engages 70 volunteers state-wide using vehicles based in five locations around the state. They manage their own daily schedule to ensure all clients attend their appointments and show great initiative and flexibility, as medical appointments don’t always run on time.
The transport2treatment volunteer team are a highly valued public face, and often the first level of face-to-face support of Cancer Council Tasmania. During the year, the team provides over 9,000 hours of volunteering for 4,600 client treatment appointments.
The transport2treatment team consistently deliver on Cancer Council Tasmania’s values of generosity, integrity, collaboration, courage and innovation. The volunteer group inspires others to join their efforts, and some clients have gone on to become volunteers themselves.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels delivers high-quality meals to hundreds of older people throughout the state, helping them remain living at home and to maintain some independence. Having someone deliver nutritious meals also provides social interaction and a friendly face to people who might otherwise be isolated
During the year, approximately 160,000 meals are delivered state-wide. We have 1,200+ volunteers delivering meals to about 900 clients across Tasmania. Many volunteers have been involved for decades, a testament to the organisation’s support, inclusion and sense of community.
Meals on Wheels volunteers are without fault willing to assist and happy to be flexible when shifts need filling. The volunteers tend to encourage others to volunteers, which contributes enormously to the sustainability of the program. Many volunteers are retired and value the opportunity to continue to make a valuable contribution to their community.
Meals on Wheels has a strong reputation and is a vital service for its clients in the Tasmanian community.
Melanoma Tasmania is entirely run by volunteers who provide support and counselling for Tasmanians and their families affected by melanoma. It was started by Di Mason when she realised there were no dedicated support groups for this deadly but preventable disease.
By providing affected Tasmanians with an emotional support system that is based on shared experiences, Melanoma Tasmania is a beacon of hope by connecting those living with the disease to melanoma survivors.
Careful induction and training for volunteers ensures that volunteers are comfortable with their role, and understand the safety surrounding both fundraising and counselling. The group runs a wide variety of awareness and fundraising acivities, so there is always a role for every available volunteer.
Melanoma Tasmania is now the Tasmanian representative for the Australian Melanoma Consumer Alliance. It is also aligned with Melanoma Patients Australia, with whom they now share resources to better support those living with melanoma.