Volunteering: A Gateway to Communities Initiative

Volunteering opens a gateway for new migrants, refugees and international students

The Volunteering – A Gateway to Communities project has been exploring a big challenge that many community organisations in the State face.

That is, how do we go about approaching people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds (e.g. migrants, refugees and international students) to participate in our volunteer programs, and also to help welcome them into the broader South Australian community.

Building on Surf Life Saving Australia's successful model of engagement with CALD communities, the national 'On the Same Wave' program, the Volunteering - A Gateway to Communities initiative worked with a special advisory group to look into these very complexities.

Members of this advisory group included Surf Life Saving; Red Cross; South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission; Children, Youth and Women's Health Service; and the City of Charles Sturt.

Together, the group has worked in partnership with the South Australian Government's Office for Volunteers to develop tools and resources, aimed at helping community organisations increase their cultural awareness and to also get ready to start engaging CALD communities in their volunteer programs.

The result of this effort is this web page, and list of free tools and resources, created specially for community organisations that are interested in engaging CALD volunteers.

Free tools for community groups

A range of free tools and resources, to help organisations attract people from diverse backgrounds to volunteer in their programs, is available by the visiting the sa.gov.au website.

Further information and useful links

  • Training Manual - Recruiting and Supporting Volunteers from Diverse Cultural and Language Backgrounds - As part of the Commonwealth's CALD Implementation Project, the State Volunteer Centres assisted the Australian Multicultural Foundation, Judith Miralles & Associates, and Volunteering Australia with developing this Training Program and Manual to help not-for-profits with recruiting and supporting volunteers from CALD backgrounds.
  • Involving volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds information sheet about the many benefits of having a diverse volunteer program, and tips and advice for managers on how to engage and involve volunteers from CALD backgrounds.
  • An overview of South Australia's multicultural population – Multicultural SA has prepared this overview of South Australia's multicultural population using the 2011 Census results.
  • On the Same Wave – A living in harmony Initiative - On the Same Wave (OTSW) is a partnership between Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) and the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), which provides support to young Australians of all backgrounds, to become part of the beach experience, and to engage with Surf Life Saving around Australia. 
  • SLSA also provides a free mobile app for iphone and android devices called Beachsafe, available in 72 languages, for download which allows users to obtain real-time beach safety information and conditions for over 12,000 Australian beaches.