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Thanks a Million to all Volunteers

This week is National Volunteer Week and this year’s theme – “Thanks a Million” – recognises more than 6 million Australians who volunteer their time, energy and skills to help others.

Minister for Social Inclusion Mark Butler and Minister for Community Services Julie Collins are encouraging all Australians to share their stories as part of National Volunteer Week celebrations.

“Volunteers contribute over 730 million hours of unpaid work to their communities each year, doing everything from providing companionship to the elderly to being the first responders during a natural disaster,” Mr Butler said. “This is a massive contribution to our economic, social and cultural life, and National Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to collectively thank volunteers for their efforts.”

Celebrations and award ceremonies will be held across the country during National Volunteer Week. Mr Butler said volunteers and members of the public are also invited to share personal stories about volunteering on Facebook and via the Twitter hashtag #NVW2013.

“National Volunteer Week will focus on stories from volunteers and from people whose lives have been positively influenced by volunteers,” Mr Butler said. “These stories remind us that volunteers come from all walks of life and all Australians can make a positive contribution to their communities, no matter how big or small.”

Ms Collins said the Australian Government’s $16 million Volunteer Grants initiative is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Australia’s volunteers for their selfless work.

“Through this initiative, community organisations are assisted with grants of up to $5,000 to buy much needed equipment or to help volunteers with fuel costs, training courses and compulsory background checks,” Ms Collins said. “Last year’s 4,800 grants to community organisations helped more than 166,000 volunteers, acknowledging their exceptional work, helping to achieve a better quality of life for individuals and their communities. “Volunteer Grants 2013 applications are currently being assessed and successful organisations will be announced in the coming months.”

Find out more about National Volunteer Week events and activities near you at the Volunteering Australia website, find Volunteering Australia on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NVW2013.

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Alana Lowes

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