A JOINT statewide pilot project between the NSW State Emergency Service (SES and the University of New England (UNE) has received $94,758 from the State Government to aid in creating flexibility among volunteers, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced today.
Mr Marshall said the support came from the Emergency Volunteer Support Scheme with the aim of helping recruit, train and retain more flexible volunteers and to bring the local SES capabilities into the modern day.
“The SES is a cornerstone in this community and helping to build a system where volunteers can be involved around their other commitments in their lives and work helps to unlock the potential of our volunteer force,” Mr Marshall said.
“SES volunteers play a crucial role on the frontline performing rescues and helping clean up after significant disaster damage.
“This project is centred around the UNE students and staff having flexible volunteering hours, but hopefully as the project progresses this will begin to be rolled out to the greater SES force.
“Trialling these flexible options for new volunteers with the university means that we will get to see if this helps improve the volunteer numbers that have been in a slow decline.”
Mr Marshall said the funding would be used to hire a project officer based at UNE and if successful in increasing volunteer numbers would see the project rolled out throughout the State.
“The SES is a great way for people to give back to their local community and opening up the doors to make it easier for people to get involved will help ensure that there is strong involvement into the future,” he said.
SES Deputy Zone Commander Heath Stimson welcomed the funding support and said it would enable new, innovative and flexible ways of volunteering for students and staff at UNE.
“They will be able to utilise their skills, knowledge and interests to contribute to the mission of the NSW SES which is saving lives and protecting communities,” Mr Stimson said.
“The SES is looking forward to working together with UNE to further contribute to disaster resilient communities.”