CEO’s Report

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Volunteering In A Changing Landscape

In a seemingly increasing self centred world there are beacons of hope that remind us all that at the very core of humanness is the spirit of helping out the village so all can participate in the fun of the fair. When that spirit of helping out is replaced with the “what’s in it for me?” you end up with the type of philosophical dogma that proliferates on self interest, meanness and an inability to empathise or understand others situations.

The type of village you end up with is largely one of choice and opportunity. People can choose to shut up shop, draw the curtains, focus on ensuring they are OK and ignore the rest, or people can seek to be involved and help out others where they can. As a community we can focus on developing opportunities for people to get involved or we can decide to stay out of the opportunity game and see what happens.

Alas the prevalent philosophy is idolising the spirit of individualism and the capacity and willingness for the community to create a sense of welcome, inclusion and encouragement for all people appears to be waning. The same can be said of volunteering in our community. Increasingly volunteerism is about what volunteers can get out of the experience and the community is systematically reducing and restricting opportunities to volunteer through restrictive work practices and ever increasing regulatory approaches.

Yet at times things just happen that make you think it will be OK. In the past couple of weeks I have seen a young person with a severe disability be encouraged and supported to be involved in a community group by other young people. I have seen the embracing of a person from a different background by young people to join their social group, and then through Interchange Outer East (IOE) I have consistently experienced young volunteers give their time and energy to help children and teenagers have a great time. These are the beacons of hope and IOE has a role to play in ensuring the opportunity to volunteer continues.

So in spite of the individualist philosophy of the NDIS and the professionalisation of support, Interchange remains committed to providing opportunities for young people to volunteer. It’s an opportunity for people to be involved and help out where they can. Young volunteers at IOE will be encouraged to get fully involved, develop skills and the capacity to face challenges and persevere. It’s not always easy and sometimes fun does not describe the experience, but young people who volunteer with Interchange will be supported to feel good about what they do.

Understanding that their efforts are appreciated, valued by families and Interchange, and, essential to making a service better will enhance the awareness of how their contribution makes the village a better place.

Fred Brumhead CEO

Interchange Outer East is currently conducting a youth volunteer recruitment campaign. To learn more about the Volunteer Roadshow and how you, or the young people you know, can be involved, visit






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