Volunteers celebrated across SA

Volunteers celebrated across SA

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NEARLY one million South Australians across the state involved in volunteering are being celebrated this week.

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NEARLY one million South Australians across the state involved in volunteering are being celebrated this week.

National Volunteer Week was introduced 30 years ago to promote volunteering on a national level but has developed to recognise the skills, passion and time of volunteers.

Volunteering SA&NT chief executive officer Evelyn O'Loughlin said throughout time, some of the motivators to volunteer have changed.

"A lot more people are volunteering to help improve job prospects by gaining new skills or trying work in a new field," she said.

"Volunteering is a great way to express personal values and to support charities or not-for-profit organisations that people are aligned with.

"It continues to be a great way to help others, to feel good about yourself while enhancing social relationships."

Data shows that those aged 15 to 17 volunteer the most, closely followed by 35-44 year olds.

Some of these volunteer positions in regional SA include SA Ambulance, which has more than 1500 volunteers across 80 teams, the State Emergency Service, and the Country Fire Service, as well as involvement in sporting clubs, school associations and much more.

The CFS, made up of 13,000 volunteers, clocked up more than 500,000 volunteer hours during the recent fire danger season, with many more year-round.

As part of the Volunteer Week celebrations, a parade and barbecue was held in Adelaide yesterday, while people are encouraged to wear orange tomorrow for Wear Orange Wednesday - WOW Day - to recognise the contribution of SES volunteers.

The Adelaide Oval, River Torrens footbridge and Viterra grain silos at Port Lincoln and Port Giles will also be lit up in orange.

SES chief officer Chris Beattie said the SES played an important role in community safety, responding to storms and floods as well as performing a range of rescues including road crash, marine, swiftwater, vertical and confined space.

"Our selfless volunteers drop everything, both night and day, and put on their orange overalls to respond to thousands of requests for assistance from the general public every year," he said.

"With the support of their families, they also spend countless hours training to ensure they have the necessary skills to respond safely and effectively."

This week the state government announced $2.5 million to the CFS to renew equipment, facilities and firefighting capabilities for the next financial year.

Sport, Recreation and Racing and Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard said such selfless people were the backbone of SA and deserved to be appropriately resourced.

"These community-minded people give their time and, in the case of the CFS volunteers, face inherent risks to protect the lives and property of others," he said.

"In anyone's book that is the definition of a hero, and that is why the Marshall government is absolute committed to ensuring they are well-resourced and respected for the work they do."

Mr Wingard also paid tribute to the impact volunteers have in community clubs.

"Our local community sports clubs would not survive without the work of volunteers," he said.

"Every club in SA has that bunch of people that make the club what it is, and this week is about ensuring we all communicate the gratitude we have for the work they do."

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