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Speech by the Governor at Doncare's 50th Anniversary Morning Tea for National Volunteer Week


First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this morning.

I am delighted to be joining you this morning for this special celebration of Doncare’s half-century.

I don’t think that any amongst us can imagine Victoria without the agencies that offer practical help and enormous kindness to those who need it.

And I am certain that we cannot imagine Victoria without its almost 1.5 million volunteers.

I was keen to visit today as, Doncare is such a shining example of both practical help and volunteering.

When Doncare opened its doors in 1969, it was responding to the need for support for local families in the rapidly growing Doncaster and Templestowe area.

A small group of local church ministers and 22 enthusiastic volunteers initiated community consultations and, from there, established a counselling service.          

Fast forward to today. Doncare now has more than 500 volunteers, and provides counselling as well as a range of important services, including helping with emergency relief, and family violence prevention and recovery.       

The services translate into all sorts of programs that are thoughtfully tailored for the local community.           

I particularly like your idea of a Chinese Walking Group, ensuring that seniors have the opportunity to socialise and exercise on a weekly basis with a walk and a talk, followed by morning tea or lunch.   What a perfect way to keep our senior Victorians active and engaged.

A testament to the regard in which  Doncare is held is that it has recently been selected by the Department of Health and Human Services to pilot the Intensive Family Services initiative, to help families build a safe, more stable and more sustainable environment for their children.

These are just some of the ways in which Doncare contributes to the health and well-being of the community.

None of it would be possible without your Board members, and your dedicated staff. Thank you to all of you and to your CEO, Doreen Stoves AM PSM, for her leadership over the last 18 years.

And, certainly, none of it would be possible without the 112,000 hours – yes, at least 112,000 hours - that Doncare volunteers give each year.

What a particular pleasure to acknowledge you in this, National Volunteer Week.

Of course, your volunteers don’t just give their time. They give their expertise. And above all, they give of themselves.

It is no surprise that at Doncare, you talk of ‘For the community, by the community’.

Congratulations, and it is a pleasure to say Happy 50th birthday Doncare. I wish you well in your continuing work.