Leading disability services organisation Interchange Incorporated has launched a new campaign Volunteer For Disability – to raise awareness of the significant need for more volunteers to help meet the surging demand for disability workers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Launched on 5 December, Interchange’s campaign aims to recruit volunteers to help support people with a disability and their families.
Through the Interchange program, volunteers will help provide respite to over four million Australian’s living with a disability.
There are two main areas of respite including recreational activities and hosting arrangements, where a host family or individual will take care of the child on a regular basis. Other programs may include youth groups, sibling support and school holiday camps.
Interchange Executive Officer Ms Kerry Uren said over four million Australians were living with a disability and many relied on volunteers for social participation in the community and family support.
“However, the number of volunteer positions that need to be filled in the disability sector far exceeds the number of volunteers, and now the NDIS is fuelling, even more, demand – Australia needs 60,000 new disability workers by 2020, according to a Productivity Commission report.
“Volunteering is a fantastic way for people to give back to their community and to support people living with disabilities, and now more than ever we need people willing to donate their time,” Ms Uren said.
More than 1,000 people with disabilities on waiting lists for volunteers across Interchange’s member organisations in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.
Interchange is also helping to address the demand for disability workers by providing a career pathway into the disability sector for volunteers through accredited online training. Developed by Wodonga TAFE, the training is free for volunteers and can be included as an elective subject in Certificate III and IV Disability and Certificate III and IV Community Services qualifications.
“With the NDIS creating tens-of-thousands of new jobs in disability services Australia-wide, volunteering can be a pathway to a new career, as well as a way to make a real difference,” Ms Uren said.
“Our new online training program will give volunteers a head start on a career in disability services, adding to the incredible practical experience they get from volunteering.”
For more information on how to volunteer and offer respite by hosting a person with disability in your home visit;
For more information on the Interchange volunteer recreation program – which involves assisting with activities and outings with people with disabilities visit;
FAQs for volunteers;