The Healesville Living and Learning Centre is an adult education provider offering nationally accredited training in Healesville. The Centre also operates an Opportunity Shop, with proceeds supporting the operations of the Living and Learning Centre. The centre, which is managed through a committee of management and staff, is supported though volunteers that assist with administration and with the opportunity shop.
This afternoon I was invited to speak to the volunteers to discuss how volunteering is changing and the need to clear roles and responsibilities. It is becoming increasingly evident that governments are reluctant to provide ongoing discretionary government grants that support community organisations. The trend instead is for governments to support project based funding with the increased expectation that these projects will become self-sufficient. As a result community organisations are increasingly dependent on independent sources of funding to complement their operations.
The opportunity shop serves as a significant fundraiser for the Healesville Living and Learning Centre which supports its operations and the delivery of classes. In this regard it is critical that volunteers are aware of the purposes of the Shop and its role as a fundraising initiative. While volunteers are donating their time, it is important to recognise that they have rights and responsibilities. Policies are required to provide certainty for volunteers and guide their actions, likewise position descriptions can help in clarifying volunteer roles and requirements.
The Healesville Living and Learning Centre has a significant role in the community providing courses that deliver new skills and qualifications. It is great to see the organisation supporting its volunteers and extending its fundraising initiatives through the planning of its Opportunity Shop.