Esperance leaders gather to mark Volunteer Managers Day

Volunteers rock: Devoted managers of some of Esperance's many volunteer groups met to discuss the rewards and challenges of their roles. Photo: Sarah Makse
Volunteers rock: Devoted managers of some of Esperance's many volunteer groups met to discuss the rewards and challenges of their roles. Photo: Sarah Makse

Managers of more than 250 members of the Esperance volunteer workforce gathered at the Civic Centre on Tuesday, November 5, to mark International Volunteer Manager's Day.

The morning was an opportunity to bring attention to the contributions managers make to empower and organise the hardworking volunteer community.

Managers from Esperance Care Services, 103.9 Hope FM, Esperance Home Care, Esperance Primary Canteen, Esperance Isolated Children's Parents' Association, Esperance Community Arts and St John Ambulance took part in the breakfast, which encouraged leaders to share their experiences.

Participants explored this year's theme of "Change the Tune!" with the group discussing the challenges of the role and workshopping solutions.

Esperance Volunteer Resource Centre coordinator Erica Austen said the event aimed to honour the hard work of managers and reduce feelings of isolation.

"This event gives people a chance to get together and discuss the topic, the mistakes organisations make when engaging volunteers and to look at the solutions," she said.

"It's a job that is very rewarding and it is a privilege to be able to manage volunteers, but it can also be very draining because you're managing people who have lots of different reasons for volunteering.

"It's important to get people together so they have an opportunity to not feel so isolated.

"The heart and soul of community is in giving back to the community, a lot of people do that through volunteering.

"Volunteer managers are important because they give that structure to the volunteers.

"It means that volunteers know they are doing something that is useful, that is coordinated and is for the good of the community."

Hope FM manager Meredith Waters said the breakfast was a fantastic opportunity to access practical advice and support from her peers.

"Working or volunteering in the volunteer sector can be very different to managing people in the paid workforce," she said.

"It was great to get together and share successes and solutions."

The Esperance Volunteer Resource Centre will celebrate International Volunteer Day on December 5, hosting a cinema event to give thanks to the local volunteer community.