South East Volunteers was established in 1985, originally named the Waverley Volunteer Outreach. Its purpose was to co-ordinate the recruitment and training of volunteers for community organisations in the City of Waverley, in Melbourne, but soon grew to include all of the City of Monash, and to provide other community services, including Social Support, Transport, and a Community Safety Register, as well as running a Police Check service for community organisations.
It was renamed as the Monash Volunteer Resource Centre until it began to extend services to include other geographical regions of Melbourne, when it was then renamed South East Volunteers in 2016. Currently, South East Volunteers extends much needed volunteer services to south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, including the City of Dandenong and the City of Casey.
The early years
Waverley Volunteer Outreach was formed in March 1985, following a meeting of interested community members in June 1984. Its purpose was to co-ordinate the recruitment and training of volunteers for community organisations in the City of Waverley.
Initially staffed by volunteers, with a part-time paid co-ordinator appointed in 1986, the organisation operated one day per week from the Waverley Community Health Centre. The organisation was renamed Monash Volunteer Resource Centre to in 1994, and then South East Volunteers in 2014.
Bev Dean: a dedicated volunteer in the community for many years, was one of the founding members of the Monash Volunteer Resource Centre. A member of the Waverley Welfare Group, she was involved in the discussion which resulted in the formation of Waverley Volunteer Outreach. During these years she took up the role of Secretary, Treasurer and volunteer at the Centre until 2009.
Jenny Hill: a committee member of the Monash Volunteer Resource Centre for many years, and later President on the Committee of Management from 2000 – 2005. Jenny worked in the community where she had been a teacher at a local primary school. She managed one of the neighbourhood houses in Ronald Mc Donald House Clayton.
Norm Gibbs: involved with voluntary work in the community for most of his life and worked for Norm attended the initial meetings that brought about the formation of Waverley Volunteer Outreach. Since retiring, Norm attends the annual general a member of the National Volunteer Week planning committee and assists with various events within the organisation. Norm held the title of Senior Victorian of the Year in 2006.
Mirvyeen Grebert: steering committee member since 1985 and worked voluntarily as the co-ordinator until the position was funded. Funding was received for four hours per week and later grew to 10 hours per week in 1987. Mirvyeen retired in 1989 to move to Ballina.
Gloria Mahoney: associated with Waverley Volunteer Outreach since 1985 on a voluntary basis. In 1989 she was employed as the part-time coordinator, and continued working for the organisation until she retired from the position of Volunteer Resource Centre for 20 years, shared her expertise beyond the Monash district and was recognised in the volunteering community with a Centenary of Federation Medal, an Order of Australia in 2003 and an induction into the Victorian Honour Role of Women in 2009.
Highlights, programs and services
Initially, Waverley Volunteer Outreach collected on behalf of Red Cross doorknock appeal and commenced as a ‘one stop shop’ where people could be matched to volunteer jobs with community agencies. The book delivery service with Waverley Council led to requests for transport to medical appointments using the bank of volunteers from Waverley Volunteer Outreach.
In 1994 annual recurrent funding of $20,000 was received from the Department of Human Services to service Home and Community Care clients. In the Olympic year 2000 the City of Monash made a request to the organisation to co-ordinate volunteers for the Olympic run through the city. Together with service clubs in the City of Monash, the organisation recruited over 100 volunteers for the event.
In 2002 the City of Monash funded Monash Volunteer Resource Centre to implement the Monash Community Safety Register, firstly in northern suburbs in a partnership between Mt Waverley Police, Glen Waverley Police, Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Waverley RSL. This service has since expanded to cover the entire City of Monash.
Monash Volunteer Resource Centre moved from Kemp Lodge to its present purpose-built premise in Myrtle St. in 2004 which had been designed by the City of Monash of cars and with funding from the Department of Human Services the organisation produced a video on mobility and transport.
The Department of Planning and Community Development provided funding to explore corporate employee volunteering whilst further funding was received from the Department of Human Services to work in partnership with other volunteer resource centres in the east to develop a new project for online police checks (Crimcheck).
The City of Monash funded a pilot for a Chinese Elderly Group in 2006. In 2009 the organisation received tax deductibility status, and had an extension of volunteer services to Clayton Outreach with views to outreach in other areas.
35 years later
During its thirty-five years of existence, the organisation has had many name changes but remained true to its original purpose, coordinating over 1500 volunteers annually for hundreds of community organisations in the City of Monash and beyond, whilst expanding its range of programs and services for community groups and individuals.
To recognise and support volunteers in the community the organisation continues to celebrate National Volunteer Week and International Volunteer Day. The Social Support Program for aged members of the community has grown with transport and social activities offered to older members and those with a disability living in the City of Monash.
From its small beginnings, the organisation now employs fourteen support staff in addition to over 100 volunteer staff to run its operations. The Monash Volunteer Resource Centre model continues to evolve and each year brings the challenge of creating new programs to meet the ever changing needs of the community.