‘Providing a supportive environment for volunteers is critical to maintaining a vibrant and motivated volunteer core within our society’, Glenda Martin, Outreach and Marketing Manager at Volunteering Canterbury says.

‘Changing demographics and technology are huge players which must be taken into account by Managers of Volunteers’, says Glenda.  International Volunteer Managers’ Day is always an opportunity to especially thank those who manage volunteers and provide worthwhile and satisfying volunteer roles.  ‘We understand the importance of Managers and Co-ordinators of volunteers being well supported so that they can support those in their volunteer programmes and providing that support is one of Volunteering Canterbury’s core services.’

When it comes to International Volunteer Managers’ Day, there is also a real desire to do something a little bit different and provide a new learning experience for the group.  Last year, a group went off and learnt the finesse required to make dumplings, and then ate together.  This year, in which support from Volunteering Canterbury has had an emphasis on inclusiveness in volunteering and the breaking down of barriers, it seemed natural to look for an exploration of a part of Christchurch which was perhaps not familiar to many.

‘We were absolutely delighted with the warm welcome we received from those at Al Noor Mosque when we approached them about visiting the Mosque and finding out more about the Islamic community here in Christchurch.  About 20 Managers and Co-ordinators of volunteers took the opportunity to join us and discuss questions they had to assist them in providing a supportive environment for Islamic volunteers’ Glenda said. The feedback from the group was very positive, and there was an opportunity share food together at the Mosque completing the experience.

‘It’s important to remember’, Glenda said, ‘when we talk about the huge impact that volunteers have in our community – in Christchurch 36,000 people each year are impacted by the gifting of time of a volunteer – that volunteers are supported by a team throughout the region which is both passionate and well informed.’  Volunteering Canterbury’s role in this support consists of monthly Network meetings covering topics specifically relating to support of volunteers and volunteer programmes.  These meetings are open to all Managers and Co-ordinators of volunteers in the region.  More in-depth workshops are held throughout the year; these activities running alongside Volunteering Canterbury’s day to day recruiting and outreach activities.

International Volunteer Managers Day is a global event held annually on 5 November. This year’s theme ‘Be the Voice’, sought to encourage all volunteer leaders to find ways to strive for great volunteering environments, advocate for adequate resources and become effective advocates for their volunteers.