Volunteering at Inclusion Melbourne
“Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain”
We are delighted that you are interested in volunteering and considering working with Inclusion Melbourne!
We have over 150 volunteers just like you, who are experiencing the rewards that comes with volunteering and making a difference to the lives of others.
The following presentation will help you find out about our services, what it’s like to volunteer and what you need to do to become a volunteer with Inclusion Melbourne.
To navigate through the presentation, click on the slide numbers located below the screen and follow the prompts.
There is an Expression of Interest form available at the end of the session.
Also, a Frequently Asked Questions page is available to answer any questions you may have and give more detailed information.
Navigation Tips audio
Inclusion Melbourne has a proud history supporting adults with an intellectual disability and is one of Melbourne’s oldest support services.
Formerly known as Gawith Villa and established by Charles Sherwin (Charlie) Gawith (1920 – 1982), services began in 1948.
Inclusion Melbourne added volunteer support to its services in 1998, matching volunteers to fulfil a range of roles and in 2014 became an auspice organisation for the Commonwealth Visitor volunteer program for older people in our community experiencing loneliness & isolation.
Our History audio
Why Volunteer audio
Research shows that people who volunteer feel happier, healthier and more confident. They also gain a sense of belonging and connectedness to their community through the building of relationships.
Here’s some of what our volunteers have to say:
"I have enjoyed being able to build a positive and constructive environment for the individual I support. It is amazing to see how impactful the sessions have been so far and how much I have learnt about myself and the people I support. The biggest highlight would be to see how the partnership has transformed and grown since the first session."
"We’re really friends now. It’s been really fun getting to know each other. We have similar interests. We both like being active and interactive as we found out when we went to Science works. We also enjoy the same music blasting in the car (such as One Direction) and we both enjoy food! I’ve learned that I don’t have to talk all the time to build a relationship."
"I just enjoy going to Julie’s and having a time without an agenda and just spending time with each other. She always thanks me for coming and that is motivating."
Reasons people choose to become a volunteer
"I have enjoyed doing the things that I have experience in and feeling as though my work will make a difference to the organisation."
Just as our volunteers come from all walks of life, so do the people we support. Below are two case studies that reflect the diversity of our volunteering support. The names are changed to protect privacy.
"Felix is an older man living in a group home for adults with intellectual disabilities. He loves to communicate in his unique way and share his passion for footy, bowling, going for walks and hot chocolates. His only family is an elderly sibling and he is reliant on staff for his care and companionship. Felix has 2 volunteer buddies through Inclusion Melbourne’s Leisure Buddies service. In addition to their weekly outings with Felix, both volunteer buddies have gone the extra mile accompanying Felix to weekend footy games and other community events."
Screening and Matching audio
Case studies ...continued
"Mathew is an older man and a refugee from a war-torn African country. He lives with his family and due to his disability requires support to go out into the community. He is keen to have some independence from his family and joined Leisure Buddies so that he could make a friend, learn more about the Australian way of life, practice his English, and talk about his country and world affairs. Mathew was matched with volunteer Sarah who is Australian born, warm, friendly, welcoming and lively. Mathew and Sarah enjoy going for walks and for lunch on weekends and they both tell us that 2 hours flies by since they have so much to talk about!"
Screening and Matching audio
Our volunteers reflect the diversity of Melbourne’s vibrant community and come from all walks of life, including different age groups, culture, educational background, working, retired and students for example. Also they have a diverse range of interests, hobbies and skills.
Despite these differences, our volunteers share the characteristics and qualities that we look for when choosing volunteers, including friendliness, patience, openness, empathy and a willingness to learn.
We are looking for volunteers who have a genuine desire to develop a long term relationship and at a minimum are willing to commit to twelve months of volunteering, weekly or fortnightly as required by the role.
Our volunteers have good communication and listening skills and step up to the plate when needed, taking responsibility and being accountable.
The screening and matching process is an important step.
This first involves an interview, which helps us to get to know you, in particular about your interests, skills, expectations and motivations for volunteering. The interview also provides us with the opportunity to discuss what is involved in your chosen role, clarify expectations and give you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you wish!
Secondly, there are a number of screening steps, that includes providing us with two workplace referees, completing a police check (free of charge) and a disability workers exclusions scheme (DWES) check (also free of charge). These checks are completed online. More information about the DWES.
Once screening has been completed, we can start work on finding a suitable match. Sometimes we may have someone in mind for you, however there are a number of factors in completing matching, such as the number of recipients waiting for a volunteer, the shared interests and community location. Where-ever possible we try to make sure our volunteers and participants share the same community area.
In addition, we will need to formalise your role as a volunteer. This includes reading important policies and procedures and agreeing to follow them at all times. Also, you will be required to read and sign a position description and a code of conduct.
Your position description includes key responsibilities, including the requirement to report about your volunteering activity over a month to your supervisor.
Examples of important policies and procedures include privacy and confidentiality, communication, use of your personal car while volunteering and insurance coverage
*It is important to note that our practices are guided by the National Standards for Volunteering and in some cases are required by law to ensure the safety of our participants and that we meet the requirements of the Community Visitors Scheme & National Disability Insurance Scheme
In the best interests of both our volunteers and the people we support, it is important that people feel comfortable and secure in each other’s presence. For this reason, a member of staff will always introduce the volunteer to the person/s that they will be supporting and the location where they will be working, if relevant to the role. Note: Due to our staffing availability, this will usually occur during business hours.
Every volunteer will have a supervisor assigned to them who can answer queries or address any concerns. Volunteers should be comfortable and confident to speak with their supervisor at any time, about any issue, regardless of how minor they think it may be.
To ensure you settle into your new role, you will be contacted by your supervisor routinely in the first 3 months and thereafter monthly.
Should you have any questions or concerns, in between routine contact calls, your supervisor or another member of the staff team is available to provide a response and support.
In addition to support from your supervisor, we aim to ensure that you are well supported in your chosen role while volunteering with Inclusion Melbourne.
All volunteers except for Community Visitors are expected to attend a mandatory Induction & Refresher Training half day session.
This training is essential for anyone who is new to Inclusion Melbourne and for those who feel they could use a refresher. This interactive training is designed to prepare volunteers for work at Inclusion Melbourne and explore best practice in supporting people with disabilities and elderly citizens. A variety of other optional training sessions are also offered throughout the year.
All volunteers except for Community Visitors are also required to complete the NDIS Worker Orientation Module
Community visitors are required to complete an online Induction to Community Visiting hosted by Multiple Sclerosis Limited
As a Leisure Buddy volunteer, you are carefully matched with an adult with an intellectual disability – your buddy.
Your role as the volunteer is to build a mutually rewarding and enduring friendship with your buddy through shared outings and activities in the community. Activities might include exercising together, eating out, visiting places of interest and enjoying music or film together. There are many other possibilities!
As a Leisure Buddy volunteer, you will also support your buddy to achieve goals such as enhancing confidence and social skills, developing interests and communication, developing skills and independence and enjoying more social inclusion. There will also be lots of fun along the way!
Therefore, buddies are matched taking into account where you both live and your shared interests.
Buddies usually catch up regularly for a minimum of two hours weekly or fortnightly, mainly on the weekends.
At present the municipalities where we target our recruitment for Leisure Buddy matches are Glen Eira, Stonnington, Port Phillip, Boroondara, Yarra, Bayside, Monash, Whitehorse, Kingston, City of Melbourne, Brim bank, Melton and Maribyrnong
Leisure Buddies audio
Community visitors provide friendship to older people experiencing loneliness and social isolation. The Community Visitor Scheme is an Australian government program that aims to reduce or prevent the impact of social isolation amongst older Australians.
Recipients must be receiving a Commonwealth funded age care package and can be referred by anyone.
Inclusion Melbourne auspices this program and our role is to:
- Recruit, train and support Community Visitors;
- Match Community Visitors to participants; and
- Support the relationship between you and your participant
You are matched based on interests, needs and locality. Community visitors spend approximately 2 hours a week with an older person, doing an enjoyable activity together, either at a participant’s home, in their local community or in a residential aged care facility. Some of the activities that you might engage in include
- Outings to cafes, galleries, or other places of interest;
- Going for a walk;
- Friendly in-home visits;
- Friendly visits at an residential care residential facility; or
- A regular social chat on the phone or a video call.
Friendly Visitors audio
Note: Many aged care services require all visitors to be immunised against influenza. Therefore if you are interested in this role you will need to be immunised and provide evidence of annual immunisation. Exceptions will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The Volunteer counselling program is unique to Inclusion Melbourne and was established in the early 2000’s, after recognising a need for this type of service for people with an intellectual disability.
Volunteer counsellors hold an accredited tertiary qualification relevant to counselling work and provide flexible, confidential, person centred and strength-based counselling support to meet individual needs.
Volunteer counsellors work within a well-defined program of counselling practice at Inclusion Melbourne and are allocated a counsellor/peer mentor for regular professional support as well as attend quarterly counsellor/peer support meetings.
The counsellor/peer support meetings review lessons learnt and refine practice to continually improve and update the Inclusion Melbourne counselling practice processes.
Counsellors help participants achieve a range of individual goals, such as increasing self-esteem, dealing with grief, improving relationships, confidence enhancing and coping skills.
Sessions are organised and scheduled directly with participants and are usually for one hour, once per week or fortnight. Sessions are held at the participant’s home, at Inclusion Melbourne’s offices, or in a private community space, depending on the preference of the participant.
Classroom tutors assist students with an intellectual disability who are studying for pre-accredited and nationally accredited qualifications
Training is conducted in classrooms located in East Malvern and Sunshine and learning programs are delivered by qualified trainers at Inclusion Melbourne’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Inclusion Training.
Volunteers work 1:1 with students, usually for one day a week during weekdays. The number of hours of tutoring can be negotiated, however a full day (approx. 5 hours) is the preferred option.
Volunteers may assist more than one student in the classroom during sessions to complete a range of learning programs such as literacy, numeracy, communication and basic computer skills.
Classroom Tutors audio
Project volunteers work at Inclusion Melbourne’s offices and assist us with a range of projects and administrative tasks that can help us enormously.
We usually advertise for volunteers with specific qualifications and skills-sets who can assist with projects that come up from time to time.
For example, we may have a vacancy for routine support with data entry for a new system or need expert advice to set up and deliver on larger projects such as research, digital design, or marketing.
Volunteers work times will be negotiated to suit the project or task and is usually a six to twelve month commitment.
Inclusion Melbourne is guided by the current advice of the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services for all face to face contact.
Any changes to rules and restrictions will be discussed with you at the first suitable opportunity.
COVID-19 Regulations audio
Thank you for completing this information session, we hope you found the information helpful in making a decision to take the next step and complete the expression of interest (EOI) form.
If you have an interest in supporting the lives of adults with an intellectual disability or older people who are at risk of social isolation, we would love to hear from you! We look forward to learning about you, including your skills and attributes that will make a difference to the lives of others.
A support coordinator will be in touch with you within 1 – 2 business days to discuss the volunteer role you are interested in and opportunities currently available.