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The key to volunteering

Inclusive volunteering toolkit helping organisations and people with disability.

In May, a new online toolkit was launched to improve volunteering opportunities for people with disability in a way that is inclusive, accessible, and meaningful. This toolkit was co-designed by individuals with disability.

The Volunteerability Toolkit, the first of its kind in Australia, is now live and free for all Australians to access at volunteerability.com.au.
At a time when volunteer groups are in desperate need for assistance, the new resource is a one-stop shop of tools, tips and templates designed to inform people with disability, their carers, the disability sector, and volunteering related organisations.

According to Jim Liu, the CEO of Orana, the toolkit offers workplace safety education through easily accessible videos. It aims to dispel unfair stereotypes, provide strategies to overcome both real and perceived barriers, and support organisations and volunteer managers in developing and enhancing inclusive practices for individuals of all abilities.

“There are broader community benefits too – on the one hand we have organisations desperately seeking volunteers, and on the other hand there a large number of people with disability who want to help out their community. Our toolkit will hopefully help break down the barriers to bridge that gap.”

Jim Liu, Orana CEO

Annette Holden, Volunteerability disability awareness session co-facilitator, said volunteering had changed her life for the better after she became legally blind more than a decade ago.

“There is a huge pool of talented and skilled people who want to engage in the community, who are isolated and could do some incredible volunteering work if given the opportunity,” said Ms Holden, a former Adelaide-born journalist and communications officer for Australian Prime Ministers and Senators.

The new toolkit has been co-designed by people with disability, volunteer and disability groups and is part of the Volunteerability Program. The Volunteerability Program is a partnership between Orana Australia, Southern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc, and Northern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc, and is funded by the Australian Department of Social Services.

“Without volunteers, our communities would be very different places. Volunteers make an immeasurable contribution, not only to our community, but also to our economy – they are the heart of so many communities and we should never take them for granted. Volunteering supports pathways to employment reduces social isolation and provides opportunities for inclusion.”

Human Services Minister, Nat Cook

Mel Kerton, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Volunteering (SA) Inc, said: “I’ve been working in the volunteer sector for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen anything like this toolkit. It is a deep dive into good practice around involving people with disability and I think no stone has been left unturned and no question unanswered in what has been put together.”

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