The Evolution of Volunteering on the Gold Coast
Established in 1998, through funding from the Home and Community Care (HACC) program, and auspiced by the Family Support Group (FSG), Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. quickly became the lead agency for volunteer services.
In the early days, the services offered by Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. were limited, and volunteers were responsible for providing support and care for the frail, aged and disabled, and their carers. Linked to this support program was the growing need for transport options to shopping centres and community activities, and to mitigate the social isolation experienced by so many, and in 2002 Volunteering Gold Coast Transport Services was founded.
Comprising the two sectors, Volunteering Gold Coast Inc.’s primary objective was to support and enrich HACC services and clients through the development of a strong volunteer contribution.
In 2002, Volunteering Gold Coast Transport Services, then located at Tugun and known as Gold Coast Mobility Office, had only two vehicles and a handful of part-time volunteer drivers and office staff. The increased demand for services prompted the beginnings of the Transport Consortium, which pooled local assets to maximise the use of human and physical resources and avoid wasted funding. The Consortium was an instant success, rapidly expanding its operations throughout the West Moreton and South Coast funding areas.
Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. Head Office
The Volunteering Services sector of the organisation, then located at Southport, significantly increased its range of services, through the provision of a resource consultancy and volunteer referral service to the volunteer-involving community and non-profit organisations.
In 2012, each having outgrown multiple locations, the two arms of Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. moved into a centrally located headquarters at Miami. The building brought better prospects, increased parking for community transport vehicles, greater office space and a corporate style street frontage.
In 2013, Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. launched its hugely successful boutique pre-loved fashion store, Memento Charity Store. Dedicated to providing high quality clothing, shoes and accessories to improve the lives of others, the store quickly gained a reputation within the community as a provider of low-cost, stylish clothing and accessories. All proceeds raised from the store directly assist volunteer-involving community organisations in delivering essential resources and services to the Gold Coast.
Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. was instrumental in securing the 23rd International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) World Volunteer Conference, held at the Gold Coast Exhibition and Conference Centre in 2014. Playing host to more than 30 countries, the event inspired the leaders of Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. to further expand its operations.
On 30 June 2014, Volunteering Gold Coast Inc. launched its national volunteering initiative, Volunteering Services Australia. On the back of Volunteering Gold Coast Inc.’s local success, Volunteering Services Australia was created with the aim of developing a network of community development services to assist not-for-profit and charitable organisations. Volunteering Services Australia is currently enhancing regional volunteer culture in Ipswich and Jimboomba in Queensland, and in Launceston, Tasmania.
From its inception, and until today, Volunteering Gold Coast Transport Services remains one of the top three community transport service providers in the country and continues to operate on the foundation of supporting and enriching the lives of others through volunteer contribution.