Volunteering is at the heart of UnitingCare

January 23, 2024

Volunteering is at the heart of UnitingCare, with 7,456 people offering their time and expertise in the 2022-23 financial year to change lives across our organisation – an increase of 12.3 per cent on the previous year.

That equates to 862,477 hours contributed by UnitingCare volunteers across our Lifeline retail, events and crisis support services; family and disability services; aged care and community services; hospitals; Mission team; and corporate support.

UnitingCare Volunteer Experience Manager DJ Cronin says we are an organisation greatly enriched by volunteer effort, adding: “Nearly every service is supported by members of our community donating their time and skills.”

Top of the list are our beloved Lifeline Bookfests – second-hand book sales held around the state to raise funds for Lifeline’s 13 11 14 Crisis Support line – engaging 4,134 volunteers in the past financial year. Roles range from stocking the event, to operating the registers, managing queues, co-ordinating trolleys, and providing customer service. View our Bookfest volunteer opportunities here.

Regular Bookfest volunteer Hazel Hillier, who has been volunteering at the event since 2008, says she loves the camaraderie.

“You get to see a lot of the same people at each event, so you develop friendships,” Hazel says. “You see whole families coming through the event and it’s wonderful to see the love of books, and reading passed down to the next generation.”

Bookfests are closely followed by:

  • Lifeline retail – 1,851 volunteers at our shops and warehouses across Queensland.
  • Aged care and community services – 557 volunteers at our BlueCare locations, which provide in-home care, aged care homes and retirement living in Queensland.
  • Lifeline crisis support – 390 volunteers answer calls to the 13 11 14 Lifeline Crisis Support line and 13YARN crisis line, or support communities reeling from environmental or other disasters.
  • Hospitals – 303 volunteers across The Wesley and St Andrew’s War Memorial hospitals in Brisbane, Buderim Private Hospital on the Sunshine Coast, and St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay.
  • Mission – 185 volunteers supporting our Mission team.
  • Family and disability services – 21 volunteers supporting with counselling and wellbeing services, family and disability supports and homelessness.
  • UnitingCare corporate – 18 volunteers supporting corporate functions at UnitingCare.

UnitingCare Volunteer Engagement Lead Shane Harris says volunteering is a space for personal growth and development, as well as a chance to contribute to the goals of UnitingCare.

“We understand that volunteers have their own goals and motivations for giving their time, and we strive to align those goals with the needs of our services,” Shane says.

“Whether volunteers are looking for an experience in retail, companionship and counselling, arts and craft or administration; we are committed to providing opportunities for volunteers to meet their goals while making a meaningful impact.”

Volunteering at UnitingCare provides opportunities to:

  • Enjoy social interaction with others.
  • Gain invaluable workplace experience.
  • Contribute their corporate volunteering hours.
  • Do something new and different.
  • Meet mutual obligations, student placement hours or other requirements.
  • Build, maintain and contribute specialised skills.
  • Improve mental health and personal wellbeing.
  • Experience the joy of making a meaningful difference.

DJ says the volunteering story must be told, and proudly so: “Volunteering shines a light on our humanity, innate goodness and capacity to bring compassion and love to those who need these the most.”

If you’re ready to change lives, yours included, visit our Volunteering Portal to find a volunteering role that suits you. For more information about the impact of volunteering at UnitingCare, visit our website to read our 2023 Volunteer Impact Report .