Volunteer Awareness Week

In order to participate in Volunteer Awareness Week I went and volunteered today at the Wellington People’s Centre.

Wellington Peoples Centre is an exceptional community organisation which provides affordable dental, health and counselling services as well a fantastic benefit rights service. The staff of volunteers and paid workers are literally lifesavers for many low-income families.

As a former volunteer advocate I was keen to do anything to help, hoping for some filing or photocopying to rest my stressed political brain. However the Benefit Rights Service – who live by detailed paper trails to help beneficiaries get their full entitlements – had other plans for me! They got me to help out on a funding application because they knew I had been a skilled volunteer doing funding applications for the Tairawhiti Beneficiary Advocacy Trust before I came to Parliament.

I was happy to be there because the organisation is the best of the best at giving practical help and respect for all people in our communities. If you want to see skilled volunteers and inspiring leadership, start with them. As they also point out, beneficiaries are not the losers implied in government rhetoric but are volunteers holding families and communities together. They deserve to be celebrated!

3 Comments Posted

  1. As current chairperson of the WPC, thanks heaps Catherine.
    Sadly too few People’s Centres exist, but the WPC is keen to see more of them. Send an email to the WPC and I can give a potted history as to how this one was set up (1991/2)… and how to keep it going…
    Essential elements include:
    enthusiasm;
    a respected NGO to umbrella the group while setting up for the first few months;
    passion and compassion for justice and community development;
    a belief people can solve their own problems and that they can provide quality services at low cost;
    a willingness to speak out on issues you are aware of (but not speaking out on issues you are not aware of).

    Graham

  2. I hope it all goes well at the Wellington Peoples Center; does Christchurch have such a center?

  3. Good on you! Volunteering is not only something which is so essential to community organisations, it is also a great way for people to develop themselves as citizens. If I had known about Volunteer Awareness Week earlier I definitely would have brought in my volunteers at the Phobic Trust for some an appreciative treat 🙂

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