Toolkit helps with inclusion for volunteers
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Volunteerability toolkit gives guidance on supporting people with disabilities to volunteer

Volunteerability toolkit gives guidance on supporting people with disabilities to volunteer

by Freya Lucas

June 08, 2023

Volunteers in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services are invaluable. Whether it’s supporting reading programs, cutting up fruit for playgroups, sharing cultural knowledge or helping children to connect with the community, volunteers are vital for many services. 


To support volunteering-involving organisations to better include those living with disabilities, their carers and the disability sector, a new online toolkit has been developed by Volunteerability, co-designed by people living with disability. 


Launched last week in Adelaide, South Australia, the toolkit offers a ‘one stop shop’ of tools, tips and templates covering workplace safety education using accessible videos.


It aims to debunk unfair stereotypes, offer ways to overcome real and perceived barriers, and to assist organisations along with volunteer managers to build and improve inclusive practices for people of all abilities.


“There are broader community benefits too – on the one hand we have organisations desperately seeking volunteers, and on the other hand there [are] a large number of people with disability who want to help out their community,” said Orana Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Liu.


Annette Holden is a Volunteerability disability awareness session co-facilitator, and said that volunteering has changed her life for the better after she became legally blind more than a decade ago.


“There is a huge pool of talented and skilled people who want to engage in the community, who are isolated and could do some incredible volunteering work if given the opportunity,” shared Ms Holden, a former journalist and communications officer for Australian Prime Ministers and Senators.


The Volunteerability Program is a partnership between Orana Australia, Southern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc, and Northern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc funded by the Australian Department of Social Services.


“Without volunteers, our communities would be very different places. Volunteers make an immeasurable contribution, not only to our community, but also to our economy – they are the heart of so many communities and we should never take them for granted,” said Human Service Minister Nat Cook.


“Volunteering supports pathways to employment reduces social isolation and provides opportunities for inclusion.”


No stone has been left unturned in developing the toolkit, said Mel Kerton of Southern Volunteering SA Inc. 


“I’ve been working in the volunteer sector for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen anything like this toolkit. It is a deep-dive into good practice around involving people with disability,” she shared.


The toolkit assists with disability training in an inclusive, insightful and meaningful way, to provide a plethora of ways to engage people living with impairments for the good of society.


To access the toolkit, please visit the Volunteerability website.

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