Do you gift your time?

Sunshine Coast Council and the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) are exploring new ideas around volunteering and calling on everyone in our community to take part in a community research project to understand their views and experiences.

The research initiative is being run through the Sunshine Coast Community Co-Lab program and encourages people to have their say via an online survey.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said researchers wanted to hear from current volunteers as well as people who don’t volunteer.

“Our residents are very generous and often gift their time in our local communities, whether informal and a little, or planned and routine,” Cr Law said.

“Traditional volunteering is declining* and through this survey we are seeking to understand the reasons and as a community, how we can re-think volunteering.

“We are calling on all residents, including those involved in community organisations, to complete the survey available until November 15.

“We want to understand motivations, the barriers and what needs to change to enable volunteering opportunities.

“Strengthening the substantial and ongoing participation of, and contribution by, volunteers to community life is a key priority area of our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041.

“In collaboration with UniSC, we are seeking to inspire community-led action and generate a sustainable and resilient volunteer ecosystem on the Sunshine Coast.”

UniSC Lecturer in Social Work Gerard Jefferies said the team was bringing together resources from council and the university to connect and collaborate with the Sunshine Coast community.

“With the decline in traditional volunteering, we want to understand some of the reasons why and the new ideas that can help us re-imagine volunteering and how we gift our time,” Mr Jefferies said.

“After the consultation period is complete, council, UniSC and community members will come together to build and implement innovative and inspiring solutions to encourage increased volunteerism in our region.

“We’re hoping to do this by disrupting the current systems and trends through the establishment of new connections and community-led strategies.”

To complete the survey, visit Council’s Have Your Say website.

What is volunteering?

  • If a person is engaged in gifting their time to assist others outside their home, essentially this is volunteering.
  • Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain and can encompass a variety of activities.

Sunshine Coast Community Co-Lab Fast Facts:

  • The Sunshine Coast Community Co-Lab model is a pilot project and partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and UniSC
  • Sunshine Coast Community Co-Lab is a best practice engagement model that aims to bring together the resources of the Sunshine Coast community, council, UniSC and their students to share knowledge and collectively respond to local challenges and opportunities
  • The program aims to open a dialogue on items that matter to the community and invites them to co-create locally appropriate responses
  • By driving innovation and co-creation in our community engagement approach, we can support community leadership, decision-making and sustainable partnerships that deliver stronger and more connected communities.

* Rates of volunteerism on the Sunshine Coast declined by 5% between 2016 and 2021 (ABS Census data).



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