International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day, on December 5, is an important date to recognise the valuable contribution of all volunteers from across the world who devote their time to positively impact the lives of others.

The impact of volunteers is phenomenal. Volunteers don’t just give an extra set of hands – they give hope.  Hope and reassurance to the thousands of locals who are doing it tough that people truly do care.

Earlier this year Samaritans leadership team experienced first-hand the hard work and value that volunteers contribute to our services by volunteering themselves. They worked alongside our volunteers sorting through clothes at Samaritans Shops and lending a hand at Emergency Relief.

At Samaritans, volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation.  With over 100 services spread across five regions, Samaritans supports thousands of people each month.  We are supported by over 750 staff and a further 530 volunteers. The impact of volunteers is phenomenal with some Samaritans services relying purely on volunteer commitment to operate.

This Christmas, Samaritans volunteers will collectively donate over 1800 hours of their time by assisting families in need at Samaritans Christmas Assistance Centre, picking up toy donations, gift wrapping or serving food at our community Christmas Lunches in Newcastle and Wyong.

Each year volunteers spend over 1000 hours at Samaritans disability services, and what a difference this time makes to the lives of the people we support!  The opportunity for people we support to interact and connect with people outside of their usual network of support workers and family is invaluable.

The benefits of volunteering are two-fold, with studies revealing individuals who volunteer live longer and happier lives!*  Interestingly, those who reported volunteering at least 200 hours per year were found to be 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure.^  Many of Samaritans volunteers also tell us that they enjoy the social aspect of volunteering – meeting new people and making new friends.

One of our volunteers has continued with Samaritans for over 10 years because of the valuable interactions and connections she has formed.  “The people that you meet- that’s really a major part of it – both co-volunteers and the people we assist.  You do develop a lot of good friendships amongst the volunteers,” she said.

This International Volunteer Day we say thank you to the hundreds of people who support Samaritans.

If you are feeling inspired to join our team of volunteers, who live happier and longer lives, then head to our volunteer page for a list of opportunities, click here.

*State of Volunteering in Australia 2016

^Source: A prospective Study of Volunteerism and Hypertension Risk in Older adults.