Volunteer Expo Montsalvat

Words by CopperLine

Volunteer participation in Nillumbik declined from 24% to 16.9% between 2016 and 2021 according to the Census. Whilst this has been challenging for many volunteer organisations, it also means lots of opportunities for anyone considering volunteering.

A range of win-win opportunities were presented at the local Volunteer Expo last month by organisations from Nillumbik and nearby areas. Lyndel Wischer, Montsalvat’s General Manager, says that the best type of volunteering is a two-way street where the organisation and the volunteer benefit.

“Volunteering can be done from your laptop at home”

Among the stall holders at the expo were the Diamond Valley Community Support Volunteers Hub who offer a service matching volunteers with roles that suit their interests and availability. They also assist community groups to list their roles. You can find more information at dvcsvolunteershub.com.au.

Photos by Gaby Vega

Nillumbik Shire Council provides a range of opportunities and resources for volunteers. You can delve into those at nillumbik.vic.gov.au/volunteering

“It can just be a couple of hours a week while the kids are at school”

You can support local, national or international projects with Rotary and Lions Club; spend an hour a week teaching English to migrants either online or in person through AMEP; provide guided tours of heritage sites with the National Trust; help with gardening at Montsalvat; support refugees and asylum seekers with Welcome to Eltham; support environmental and sustainability initiatives with Clean Energy Nillumbik; write for your local newspaper at this masthead or a support another of the many community groups in your area. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people and engage with your community.

“What I like best about volunteering is the amazing people I have met”

Jim Connor, president of the Eltham District Historical Society, said they were pleased to be part of the expo and discuss with many visitors opportunities to be involved in their society, as well as with other local history groups within Nillumbik. Hayley from the Adult Migrant English Program said it was a successful and valuable day connecting with the local community.

We asked attendees of the Volunteer Expo “Why volunteer?”

Fiona already volunteers for Gardens for Wildlife and is interested in seeing what other groups are doing. At the expo she learned about refugee group walks and as a trained ecologist she’d like to take groups on nature walks.
Helen says volunteering is at the heart of the community. She is at the expo to see what’s available for volunteering in the community and thinks Montsalvat is the perfect place to support and encourage volunteers.

Caroline is looking for gardening and regeneration volunteer roles and opportunity to contribute to nice public spaces.

Pritt (L) pictured here with his family, says we need people involved in volunteering to support community groups.
Robyn (L) says it’s good to give back and it provides growth as a human. The expo shows what’s in the community.
Megan (R) says you learn more. Her children are adults now so she has more time to give and came to the expo to find what to give time to.

Jill and Robert are relatively new to the area. They’re finding out what’s available and would like to be a little bit more involved in the community.