Kaipara volunteers recognised

20:05, Dec 18 2012
Kaipara volunteers
GIVING SPIRIT: Firefighters and St John officers are only the tip of the iceberg that is Dargaville’s volunteer community. These keen volunteers all agree it’s about working together.

They save lives, fight fires, bake cakes and mend clothes. They serve justice, give budget advice, guide our youth and support abuse victims.

There's not a lot Kaipara volunteers don't do.

Today is International Volunteer Day, a day to recognise the countless hours and sacrifices volunteers make to ensure Kaipara residents are safe and our community keeps ticking along.

Volunteer New Zealand says New Zealand is a leading nation in the contribution made by volunteers. A 2008 study estimated volunteers make up 67 per cent of the non-profit workforce, equal to 133,799 fulltime positions.

In Dargaville everywhere you turn volunteering is going on - whether it is hospice workers, firefighters, St John or those less visible such as youth mentors, sports coaches and budgeting advisers.

Nationwide, volunteers contribute more than 270 million unpaid hours of work which are valued at more than $3.3 billion.

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But there is a growing shortage.

Dargaville fire chief Jeffrey Palmer says it doesn't matter what organisation you look at, "they're always looking for volunteers".

He says it's particularly hard to recruit young people.

Danya Bradley is one youth who has put up her hand.

"I work fulltime at Blah Blah Blah's and I've been volunteering since April."

She says she hadn't really thought about it until she saw it in the paper.

She volunteered for St John knowing first-hand how important the service is.

"I've been in a car accident before and it puts it into perspective. They did such a good job for me and I want to be there for someone else."

Email dargaville.editor@ snl.co.nz if you know of a volunteer or group deserving recognition.

Dargaville News