Cr McKay- Recognising our volunteers
  • Friday 27 November 2015

Recognising our volunteers

Did you know there are around 64,000 volunteers on the Sunshine Coast? These wonderful community-minded people provide an estimated contribution of 8.3 million hours annually equating to an estimated economic value of $245 million.

When looking at these significant figures, you can understand why it’s important that a united vision for the future of volunteering is developed.

I’m pleased to advise that last week we started doing just that. As part of its Social Strategy, Council hosted the inaugural Volunteer Sector Forum with 160 representatives from 70 of our region’s not-for-profit organisations coming together to begin the development of the Regional Volunteers Action Plan. This will provide a clearer picture of what volunteering on the Coast looks like now and identify our challenges and opportunities for the future.

Berry good grants

Speaking of volunteers, I’m delighted to have been able to assist more than 70 community groups across the Sunshine Coast with almost $500,000 in funding from the latest round of the Community Grants Program.

Collectively, the successful grant recipient projects will engage more than 3000 volunteers and in excess of 42,000 volunteer hours.

One community organisation set to benefit is the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association Inc, with a $7500 grant towards a study which aims to eliminate dumping of fresh product in strawberry industry in Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions.

I know this has become a real issue and look forward to hearing the findings of the study.

Nambour parkrun

Great news – the hinterland community is now part of the free global community-running phenomenon – parkrun.

I’m very excited to have helped launch the first 5km Nambour parkrun event on Saturday at 7am at Parklands Regional Park. And what a terrific turn out it was! Whether you’re taking your first steps in running or exercising in general, are a professional athlete, a junior, or someone with plenty of running experience, I highly encourage you to have ago yourself – I’m confident it will soon become your regular healthy and fun way to start every weekend.

This event is also run completely by volunteers and I’m pleased that council was able to assist towards their start-up costs in August with a $2000 grant.