National Volunteer Week: 6 enriching volunteering opportunities with Samaritans

Adults wearing blue shirts saying volunteers

Volunteering is the perfect way to get involved in your local community.

Whether it’s coaching a little-league soccer team or taking part in a not-for-profit volunteering program, volunteering allows you to strengthen your relationship with the community, help someone less fortunate, and boost your own sense of confidence, well-being and good will.

Australians love to volunteer – in fact, 36% Australians have volunteered formally with a specific program, event, or organisation like Samaritans while 20% have volunteered informally by providing care for children, the elderly and those living with a disability.

An added bonus: volunteering contributes around $25.4 billion to our economy each year!

At Samaritans, we’re honoured to have more than 400 registered volunteers working hard across a range of community building programs, including emergency relief, disaster relief, and peer mentoring.

We are so grateful to the volunteers that truly make a world of difference to the people supported in Samaritans services.

As part of National Volunteer Week 2019, discover the volunteer opportunities we have available here at Samaritans, plus learn how our volunteers make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate in Newcastle, the Hunter & beyond.

#1. GAPS (Grandparents as Parents) Support Groups

Sometimes, children are unable to live with their parents. Instead, children receive care from grandparents or relatives – this is known as kinship or relative care.

Here at Samaritans, we offer kinship care and support in a number of ways:

  • Case workers who provide information and advice regarding Centrelink services, childcare, schooling, support groups and more;
  • Training and workshops on child development and childcare;
  • Peer support groups across Newcastle & the Hunter, creating welcoming spaces for sharing information, lots of laughs and supporting one another;
  • Playgroups for children who need a friend.

We also have a group called Grandparents As Parents (GAPs) where grandparents caring for their grandchildren can meet, share notes, learn and have a laugh with people in a similar living situation.

We have 10 GAPs locations across Newcastle, Central Coast & the Hunter and we always need volunteers to serve tea, coffee and treats, or provide a helping hand to grandparents needing advice.

Get in touch with our volunteering team for more info on how you can help!

P: 02 4960 7100

E: volunteers@samaritans.org.au

#2. Op Shops in Newcastle 

Who doesn’t love digging through a good op shop?

We have four vintage op-shops packed with clothing, homewares, and bric-a-brac throughout Newcastle. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s the Hunter loves op shopping – so we get mountains of donations every single day!

Thank you, Marie Kondo!

Volunteering at one of our local op shops is the perfect opportunity to give back to the community and get some work experience while you’re at it, too! Gabbi, for example, has gained some valuable retail work experience and feels more confident than ever.

“Samaritans volunteers and staff have always been so supportive and have provided a great environment to work in. The confidence instilled in me during my time at the retail stores encouraged me to put myself forward for new challenges,” Gabbi said.

We’re always looking for volunteer retail assistants to help us sort through donations and manage the shop. If you’re interested in joining our retail team, head over to our volunteer page and leave an expression of interest.

#3. Emergency Relief

Each month, Samaritans provides more than 1,000 families with emergency assistance and relief throughout Newcastle, Central Coast, Central West, and the Hunter Valley.

We do our best to help families in need. We’re able to help through the generous donation of food, clothing and toys. Donations can be dropped to:

  • Samaritans Brunker Rd Office (32 Brunker Rd Adamstown) Mon-Fri 9am-4pm
  • Samaritans Warabrook (36 Warabrook Boulevard, Warabrook) Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
  • Or call 1300 656 336 for alternative locations.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to donate your time with Samaritans, we offer emotional, financial and material support to people experiencing times of hardship. Our volunteers can assist us in linking struggling individuals and families with appropriate services in the local community.

Pat has volunteered with Samaritans for decades, providing support for struggling families in her local community.

“I’ve always found it important to give back to the community where I live. It’s my community and if I can do something to make it better and help people to live a better life, I will – and we never know when we’re going to be in a situation where we might need help, too,” Pat says.

#4. Disaster Recovery

You never know when disaster is going to strike.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or otherwise, the community is always quick to rally and help clean up the mess. Here at Samaritans, we aim to do the same – in the event of emergency, we want to help the local community get back on its feet.

Naturally, we need volunteers to help us provide the best practical care and assistance we can to individuals and communities affected by major disasters. We provide training for our volunteers to better understand emergency management and disaster recovery, so we can be as helpful as possible in difficult times.

Want to get involved?

Make sure to fill out an expression of interest form, email us at volunteers@samaritans.com.au or give us a call on (02) 4960 7100 to learn more about the role.

#5. Mentoring Program

Everyone knows kids are the future… so why not help them out and become a youth mentor with Samaritans?

Our mentors help to empower young people aged 16 – 25 by increasing their confidence and resilience through the development of new skills, plus help young people build stronger, more respectful relationships with their peers.

The role is voluntary, but each month you’ll spend at least an hour with a young person from your community and help them gain new skills, improve their interpersonal skills, and encourage them to achieve their educational or vocational goals.

Many of the young people in our youth mentoring program are homeless or have been at risk of homelessness and have been accepted into our student accommodation program, so we provide plenty of training to help your mentee achieve their goals.

Mentoring can provide a young person with a pathway to hope and personal purpose – so get in touch with Samaritans to become a youth mentor. Contact us on mail@samaritans.org.au, (02) 4960 7100 or 1300 656 336.

#6. Student Placements

Are you studying and need to do a placement in the welfare sector?

Whether you’re looking for work experience in high school or you’re completing TAFE or university studies, we often have student placements available to help get the experience you need.

Our placements are entirely voluntary, but they provide you with real-life experience in welfare and you’ll learn the hands-on skills you need to become a reliable support system for those in need.

We offer student placements in disability services, children and family support,

community services, mental health services, youth services and even our retail stores. We’re always looking for volunteers across the board – we’ll get a helping hand and you’ll receive the experience you need for your career in welfare.

For more information about our student placements, fill out a form and tell us a little more about your school or campus, plus the hours you need to complete to achieve your goals.

We’ll let you know what we’ve got available ASAP!

This National Volunteer Week, donate your time with Samaritans 

Our long-term and short-term volunteers make a huge difference to the community every single day.

Our collective goal is to provide unconditional support for people in need and promote a peaceful society of equal opportunity. With the help of our volunteers, we’ve been able to help hundreds of people throughout Newcastle, Central Coast, Central West & the Hunter Valley.

This National Volunteers Week, come and donate your time with Samaritans. We have tonnes of volunteer opportunities available, whether you’re looking for retail experience in one of our op shops, to help young people in our community reach their goals, or even assist grandparents who are now caring for their grandchildren.

Get involved in your community with Samaritans. We have plenty of volunteer opportunities this National Volunteer Week!