Vision Australia celebrates vital role of volunteers

17 May 2020

As National Volunteer Week begins, Vision Australia is set to celebrate those who give up their time each year to support the blind and low vision community.

While the organisation would normally celebrate in person, recent events have made us shift to video messages of thanks, with a physical celebration intended to take place at the end of the year as a part of our Christmas celebrations.

Each year Vision Australia’s work is made possible by the contribution of its small army of dedicated volunteers who share their time and unique skills with us.

They fill roles from radio presenters to maintenance team members, woodworking experts and technology gurus. If there’s an outlet for it, one of our volunteers can do it.

The past year saw our amazing volunteers provide Vision Australia and the blind and low vision community with over 1.1 million volunteer hours. On average, we’re supported by 1600 volunteers a month. 

“Whether you’re a puppy raiser, an audio describer, a reader, a radio announcer, or many of the hundreds of other jobs within Vision Australia, your contribution is very welcome and we’re very grateful for that because we can do a better job for the blindness and low vision community of Australia with your help,” Vision Australia Chief Executive Officer Ron Hooton said.

“Our volunteers come and join us from all ages and walks of life. This is reflected by the fact that our youngest volunteer is 17, and the oldest is 93 years-old, a remarkable achievement on both ends of the spectrum,” Ron said.

Volunteering may be a fleeting interest for some, but Vision Australia is proud and privileged to see that our volunteers tend to stick around for the long-term.

This year we are celebrating several volunteers who have reached significant milestones. Our longest serving volunteer is Chris Worsnop, who is celebrating an astonishing 45 years of volunteering with us!

2020 has also seen the creation of a new role, the Volunteer Partnerships Director, currently filled by former Vision Australia Director Dr Theresa Ruig. 

“Theresa will breathe new life into our volunteering program. She’ll be looking for new roles for our volunteers out there that are exciting, will bring [our volunteers] closer to our clients and deliver more and more value for our organisation and the blind and low vision community of Australia” said Mr. Hooton.

2019 was an incredible year for volunteering at Vision Australia. While the landscape may be shifting, and the ways in which our volunteers help is ever evolving, we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2020, and beyond, has in store for our amazing volunteer force.

Interested in volunteering at Vision Australia? To find out more head to our website or contact us on 1300 84 74 66 or at volunteer@visionaustralia.org.