In May 1976, the first Volunteer Seminar was held in the Albury-Wodonga region. Twenty statutory and community welfare organisations were represented at this inaugural meeting. The meeting was generated by the recognised need to promote the role of volunteers as equal and essential partners in the community assistance process. Critically, there was agreement of the need for improved communication and coordination of local organisations utilising a volunteer workforce. The Albury-Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau (AWVRB or VRB) was established as a result of this meeting.
- To provide training and ongoing support opportunities for paid and volunteer workers.
- To provide a better coordination of welfare services in the Albury-Wodonga region, geared towards 24-hour availability.
- To improve the recruitment of manpower into community organisations.
- To develop a trust and understanding between all welfare personnel in the region.
VRB was operated by volunteers until 1982 when a coordinator was appointed into a paid position for 16 hours per week. This position was funded evenly by the NSW and Victoria state governments. Incorporation status was achieved on 17th September 1985.
The Committee originally comprised of representatives from organisations with volunteer programs, volunteers, and interested members of the community.
At this point, the focus of the VRB changed to concentrate more on volunteer issues. The overall aim was to improve both the quality and quantity of Volunteer effort in the Albury-Wodonga area.
- Developing a range of services aimed at supporting and assisting agencies and groups which involve volunteers in their programs.
- For agencies to retain control over programs with VRB support.
- Improving quality of volunteer involvement through selection and training.
- Enlarging the volunteer workforce throughout the region.
- Providing an ancillary backup service to individuals and groups via information sharing, support, training, and consultation.
Volunteer Management Program
The Volunteer Management Program works in conjunction with the VRB to provide a service to:
1. Prospective volunteers by:
- Maintaining a register of volunteer positions.
- Interviewing volunteers to identify their needs.
- Matching and referring volunteers to organisations.
- Providing appropriate training.
2. Non-profit community-based organisations by:
- Providing training to managers of volunteers.
- Consulting and assisting organisations in planning volunteer programs.
- Promoting, maintaining and distributing the profile of registered organisations.
3. The community by:
- Developing the awareness of volunteerism.
- Providing information and resource material on volunteer issues.
The AWBRB is a member of the Association of Victorian Volunteer Resource Centres (AVVRC). A volunteer resource centre is a not for profit, independently managed, community based organisation which subscribes to a code of ethics and the principles of volunteering.
- Resource and support volunteers to make informed choices about volunteer work.
- Maintain and distribute current information on community organisations utilising volunteers.
- Refer volunteers to a wide range of not-for-profit agencies across all sectors of the community.
- Resource and support agencies utilising volunteers.
- Develop an awareness in the community by acting as an advocate for volunteering and promoting the principles of volunteering.
- Work with other volunteer resource centres through the national and state centres to develop common standards of practice.
- Source and manage funding to provide a comprehensive service to volunteers and the community,
- To work with other agencies to promote best practice standards for volunteer management.
Introduction of Migrant Settlement Services
In November 2006 AWVRB received funding from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to offer settlement services in the Albury area. Later the same year VRB moved to 596 Hume Street Albury NSW. In 2008 DIAC provided funding to run a citizenship support program aimed at supporting new migrant to successfully pass the citizenship test.
The AWVRB supports approximately 150 organisations in the local community. A large portion are in the welfare field, though many multicultural services, sporting clubs, educational services, environmental groups and service clubs are also included.
- Promote the benefits of volunteering to the community.
- Provide Learn Local training in Pathways to volunteering and work.
- Support community organisations with training and the Way2Go Toolkit for managers of volunteers.
- Provide CALD resources.
- Assist with multicultural services.
- Support refugees and new migrants to volunteer and gain experience in the community.
- Department Social Services – Settlement and Volunteering.
- Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (VIC).
- Family & Community Services (NSW).
- Department of Employment Job Active.
- Learn Local (VIC).
- Border trust – Scanlon Foundation.
- Multicultural NSW – Unity Grants.
- Albury City – Local.
- City of Wodonga – Local.