Chance to support volunteering on the Sunshine Coast
  • Friday 25 November 2022

Sunshine Coast residents are being called on to share their ideas and help increase volunteering on the Sunshine Coast by attending a volunteering forum at the University of the Sunshine Coast on December 7.

The forum will also be an opportunity to review the key findings from the Building Community: Gifting Time Co-Lab Pilot Project survey, and identify opportunities to support volunteering in the region.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said more than 400 responses had been received to date and thanked the Sunshine Coast community for providing their feedback.

“The data received during the consultation will be discussed at this informative and interactive forum, and I encourage everyone to come along and contribute to this vital conversation about the future of volunteering on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Law said.

“There are a number of themes that have emerged from the survey, including time being a major factor and barrier when deciding to volunteer, especially for younger and older residents.

“Volunteering in the art and heritage area holds a strong interest in both current and future interest for formal volunteering.

“There has also been significant growth for future volunteering interest in environment and animal welfare areas.

“Volunteering is critically important to our community and sporting organisations, events and festivals, local heritage buildings, museums and much more.

“Many of these organisations struggle to recruit and retain volunteers and recent data suggests that volunteer numbers are decreasing*.

“At the volunteering forum we will discuss the current issues and barriers to volunteering and reimagine what volunteering can be in the future.”

UniSC Social Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr Peter Innes said volunteering allowed residents to make connections with each other and the wider community, and this had implications for their wellbeing, relationships and happiness.

“At some point more money doesn’t make people happier. Happiness comes from meaningful connections and contributions, to and with the people and place that you live,” Dr Innes said.

“It might come from something as simple as cleaning up the beach with your kids, or standing up to help others in an emergency.

“It can be a once-off, or more routine through a formal organisation.

“But either way it involves unpaid contributions to making a better community. Volunteering offers benefits that money can’t buy.

“Our research explores the relationship between volunteering and wellbeing.

“We want to understand more about why people do it, what benefits they see and the barriers to getting more involved.”

The forum is part of a joint project between Sunshine Coast Council and UniSC.

Forum details:

When: Wednesday, December 7, 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Where: UniSC Auditorium, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
Please register on council’s Have Your Say
website. Registrations are free but essential.

You can still also provide your feedback on the Building Community: Gifting Time Co-Lab Pilot Project survey on council’s Have Your Say website until Tuesday, November 29.

* Rates of volunteerism on the Sunshine Coast declined by 5 per cent between 2016 and 2021 (ABS Census data).