VOLUNTEERS are vital in delivering ac.care’s mission of ensuring all country people have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.
Formed in Mount Gambier 35 years ago, the “country specialist” agency combines the efforts of staff, community partnerships and dedicated volunteers to make a difference in people’s lives.
“We are a community-based agency working with the people around us as part of their community, which shines through in the way volunteers commit to our mission and support us in contributing to improving the lives of country people,” ac.care chief executive Shane Maddocks said.
“Thank you to our volunteers, who all make a wonderful contribution to expanding our capacity to make a difference.”
The agency’s volunteers include more than 200 remarkable individuals, couples and families who share their homes with over 370 children as foster carers across eastern regional South Australia, supported by ac.care staff.
“These dedicated volunteers, who open their hearts and homes to vulnerable children in need of positive relationships truly transform young lives,” Mr Maddocks said.
“Sadly, we always need more volunteers to accommodate the growing number of children and young people in state care, but are forever grateful for the efforts of our valued network of carers and the commitment they make.”
Volunteers also contribute to ac.care in many ways beyond foster care, supporting financial counselling and relief services across the regions.
The homelessness programs delivered out of the Mount Gambier Community Centre are backed by a dedicated support team.
Some volunteers gather weekly at the centre to help pack and distribute emergency food relief hampers to assist people doing it tough in Mount Gambier.
Meanwhile, other volunteers share their skills and knowledge, providing opportunities for social engagement and empowering community members to secure tenancies or invaluable employability skills.
Volunteers also help with reception duties through to general maintenance at the Millicent Community Centre, which delivers a diverse range of services to the community, not only providing ac.care’s emergency and family support programs, but also acting as a Service SA and Services Australia agent for the town.
A further team of volunteers at Kingston South East also distribute emergency relief packages, as well as coordinating a second-hand shop to raise funds to support ac.care’s valued programs.
“Our volunteers are an instrumental part of the agency and we simply couldn’t provide the range of services, programs and support we do without them,” Mr Maddocks said.