Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders noted a disability in the 2013 NZ Census, although only 45% of them gain employment (compared to 72% of non-disabled adults) – despite the fact that the majority of them would work if a job was available to them. “The Hon Nicky Wagner has been working in collaboration with MSD and employers to support people with disabilities into the workforce and there are real parallels with the challenges which face employers and volunteer managers” Volunteering Canterbury’s Outreach and Marketing Manager, Glenda Martin says.  “Volunteering is very often a pathway to paid employment, providing an opportunity to try something new, gain some skills, enhance a CV and generally connect people in the community.”

This month’s Volunteer Managers’ networking and learning opportunity being held at the St Albans Community Centre from 1-2pm on Wednesday 19th of July should be of interest to many of those Managers.  Sue Kelly from the NZ Brain Injury Association will have some tips on how to support volunteers with a brain injury and Karim Baradi from the Disabled Peoples’ Assembly will also join us to offer some guidance on getting people with disabilities involved in community organisations.  The Volunteering Canterbury team is also keenly aware of New Zealand’s ‘quiet crisis’ – with 50% of New Zealanders estimated to experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime – so we are delighted that Louise Dean from ComCare will also join us to talk about how we can support those on our volunteer teams who have a mental health challenge.  Some great learning on a very topical issue being offered this month by Volunteering Canterbury.  Building supportive communities;  overcoming barriers;  building social capital.