International Volunteers Day: A year of doing more, with less for our volunteers

International Volunteers Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of New Zealand volunteers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to consider the need for further support for community organisations, National’s Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Maureen Pugh says.

“I would like to thank the many thousands of volunteers in New Zealand who have put themselves on the front line to keep New Zealanders fed, healthy and safe throughout the pandemic,” Ms Pugh says.

A recent survey of more than 600 organisations from the community and voluntary sector showed that the sector is stretched to its limit, with a sustained significant demand for their services over the past 18 months of the pandemic. There has been little or no increase in funding, with 68% of respondents reporting a level of concern with workloads of volunteers.

“Community organisations are doing more, with less, and the Government has failed to provide extra support to acknowledge this.”

The survey also found that there is a need for competitive funding models to be replaced with trust-based models that respond to local need.

“The calls for change from the sector are falling on deaf ears with the Government, and the status quo is not enough to sustain the sector.”