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NFPs to receive free legal support to manage volunteers

A $250,000 grant will provide vital legal help to Charities and community groups

Community organisations will receive legal support to keep volunteers safe and to better manage their organisations.

The Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, announced a $250,000 grant to legal centre Justice Connect to deliver online legal resources to Not-for-Profits.

The program will assess the legal risks of volunteer programmes, which in turn will ensure they can run safer events and programs.

CEO of Justice Connect, Chris Povey, said: “Ensuring these volunteers are properly recruited and supported so they feel fulfilled and are best able to contribute involves time and expertise from the organisation.

“So we’re here to help the helpers. We’re going to produce a full, comprehensive set of resources – from plain English fact sheets all the way through to an e-learning and new app – that will give Charities and community groups the skills they need to truly harness the potential of their volunteers.”

Managing volunteers and legal responsibilities comes under the HR teams but small community groups usually do not have the resources to commit to this. Povey said these groups shouldn’t have to commit to navigating complex legal systems.

He said the challenge Not-for-Profits face includes the intricacies of governing volunteers and by providing additional funding organisations can remain protected.

“Australians are generous people, with more than 8.7 million volunteers giving up their time to support others in the community,” Tehan said.

“This program will ensure community organisations understand their responsibilities, rights and applicable protections, which will help them attract more volunteers.”

Justice Connect, which has been providing free legal advice for community organisations for over 25 years, is celebrating National Volunteer Week with the announcement. The funding will prove vital to 600,000 Charities and Not-for-Profits.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of strong, connected communities,” Povey said. “With the help of the Department of Social Services, this new national suite of resources will further help organisations recruit, manage and retain their volunteers, and spend their time doing what they do best.”

The funding is provided as part of the Prime Minister’s Business Partnership to bring together the business and community sectors to promote philanthropic giving and investments.

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