VALUED: SUNSHINE COAST VOLUNTEERS

Across the Sunshine Coast volunteers are doing everything from supporting children with special-needs by working with horses, to preparing meals for the elderly and the Federal Government is aiding their valuable contribution with its own – more than $145,000. 

Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced the funding today. 

“Volunteers play a critical role in helping build strong, resilient communities and the spirit of volunteerism is certainly alive and well on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“This year we have 37 organisations across Fairfax sharing in more than $145,000 from our Volunteer Grants program. 

“The grants range between $1000 and $5000 and can be used for things like the cost of training volunteers, doing background checks where they’re needed or reimbursing volunteers for the cost of fuel or transport,” he said. 

River Road Equine Assisted Learning in Maroochy River is among the grant recipients and will use its $2,163 to put seven volunteers through First Aid and CPR training. 

The organisation helps children develop self esteem, confidence and team work while working with horses. 

“We use ground based activities to help students connect with horses. The students learn to be calm, have positive body language and develop self-awareness,” explained Lisa Warren. 

“They often start out quite fearful but then develop a beautiful connection with their horse which does wonders for their confidence. 

“We work with young people for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, have cognitive delays, learning or behavioural difficulties. Other times they’re high flying kinds and the program becomes as extension activity about leadership and teamwork. 

“I often say there’s nothing that develops team work quite like working with a free spirit that weights half a tonne! It’s very empowering.” 

Other organisations to receive a Volunteer Grant include the Nambour and District Historical Museum where volunteers conduct tours for up to 120 school students every week. The Museum will use its $5000 grant to install air conditioning. 

While Coolum based Care Outreach volunteers travel thousands of kilometres to visit and support families on drought stricken properties in outback Queensland. Volunteers use their own vehicles and will be reimbursed for fuel costs with money from their $5,000 grant. 

“The enormous value of volunteering is estimated at $290 billion per year. Australia’s 8.7 million volunteers and their organisations are the backbone of community life,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“The Liberal-National Government’s strong economic management is why we can afford to provide the essential services Australians rely on and support the good work of our volunteers.”