Get ready to be efficient volunteer

L-R: Marcus Kaye, Shona Rimmer and Ethne Pfeiffer. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

Healesville Living and Learning Centre (HLLC) has opened a free 10-week course to help people develop skills to be effective volunteers.

The course is held at HLLC between 10am and 12pm every Thursday from 18 April to 20 June.

Course trainer Ethne Pfeiffer said the course aims to help people get started to volunteer in an informed way.

“There’s lots of compliance around being a volunteer, so you can’t just step in to do some work for an organisation or a group,” she said.

“You have to know your responsibilities and you have to have a Working With Children Check. A lot of people may not realise that things have changed a little bit.

“We’ll also ask what skills they have and we’ll build on that to maximise their skills.”

The course will help people develop communication skills and resume writing as well as connect them with community groups.

Ms Pfeiffer said she’s been engaging with community groups to invite them to be part of the course.

“What I’ve been doing over the past week is reaching out to community groups that do rely on volunteers to keep themselves going and we’ve had some interest back from some groups. We’ll keep making those connections within the community,” she said.

“If they’ve got volunteers that haven’t been trained, they can recommend to their volunteers to come and get some free training.

“The course will also focus on working well within an organisation’s culture and meeting their workplace standards. It’s about helping individuals but also the whole community.

“What is really important is that we will welcome people at any time because it’s a short course. If you come in even halfway through, we will still ask you what you’d like to achieve and we will try and support that.”

HLLC community development co-ordinator Shona Rimmer said HLLC has struggled to attract volunteers since Covid-19 as have many organisations.

“So we were looking at ways that we can assist people in making the most of their volunteering experience,” she said.

Marcus Kaye is the first person registered for the course, who has volunteered for the Healesville Community Garden.

Mr Kaye said he’s been in Healesville for about four or five years.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know many people, so it [volunteering for the Healesville Community Garden] was a good way to get involved in the community and meet more people,” he said.

“When I first started volunteering at the Community Garden, we had a project called Planting the Seed, which is all about growing food for our local charities including HICCI. We’ve donated a lot of local food and we managed to get over 30kg of food this year.

“Helping others is a big reason why I wanted to learn more about volunteering and I thought it’d be a good place to start to help the community more and learn how to be a volunteer.

Anyone wishing to participate in the course can sign up in person at Healesville Community Link, located at 110 River Street, Healesville or contact HLLC at 03 5962 5982.