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Inclusive volunteering toolkit helping organisations and people with disability

31 May 2023

An online toolkit, co-designed by people with disability, to improve volunteering opportunities that are inclusive, accessible, and meaningful is being launched in Adelaide today.

The Volunteerability Toolkit, the first of its kind in Australia, is now live and free for all Australians to access at

At a time when volunteer groups are crying out for more help, the new resource is a one-stop shop of tools, tips and templates to inform people with disability, their carers, the disability sector, and volunteering-involving organisations.

Orana CEO Jim Liu said the toolkit provided workplace safety education using accessible videos, would help debunk unfair stereotypes, offered ways to overcome real and perceived barriers, and would assist organisations and volunteer managers to build and improve inclusive practices for people of all abilities.

“There are broader community benefits too - on the one hand we have organisations desperately seeking volunteers, and on the other hand there a large number of people with disability who want to help out their community,” Mr Liu said. “Our toolkit will hopefully help break down the barriers to bridge that gap.”

Annette Holden, Volunteerability disability awareness session co-facilitator, said volunteering had changed her life for the better after she became legally blind more than a decade ago.

“There is a huge pool of talented and skilled people who want to engage in the community, who are isolated and could do some incredible volunteering work if given the opportunity,” said Ms Holden, a former Adelaide-born journalist and communications officer for Australian Prime Ministers and Senators.

The new toolkit has been co-designed by people with disability, volunteer and disability groups and is part of the Volunteerability Program. The Volunteerability Program is a partnership between Orana Australia, Southern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc, and Northern Volunteering South Australia (SA) Inc, and is funded by the Australian Department of Social Services.

Human Service Minister Nat Cook said: “Without volunteers, our communities would be very different places. Volunteers make an immeasurable contribution, not only to our community, but also to our economy - they are the heart of so many communities and we should never take them for granted.

“Volunteering supports pathways to employment reduces social isolation and provides opportunities for inclusion.”

Mel Kerton, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Volunteering (SA) Inc, said: “I’ve been working in the volunteer sector for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen anything like this toolkit. It is a deep dive into good practice around involving people with disability and I think no stone has been left unturned and no question unanswered in what has been put together.”

Donatella Amos, Executive Officer of Northern Volunteering (SA) Inc, said: "The toolkit will resonate with users as it is a result of authentic co-design with practical applications to support all. It has been an exciting project to work on and I look forward to the support it will provide."

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