Council challenges ageism as part of National Volunteer Week

Published on 17 May 2021

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To acknowledge National Volunteers Week, Yarra Ranges Council wants to thank its many dedicated volunteers who give up their time to service and support the local community.

Mayor Fiona McAllister, said Yarra Ranges had over 32,000 volunteers who each dedicated approximately ten hours a month to help deliver vital services to the community in areas like aged care, child care, arts and culture, youth services and the environment.

“This year we also want to highlight that 32.5% of our 32,000 volunteers are over the age of 55,” Cr McAllister said.

“Older people are often portrayed or believed to be a burden on the economy. But economists suggest that the true value of the millions of hours of unpaid and volunteer work done by older Australians could offset the total cost of the Age Pension.

“Challenging these stereotypes of older people is part of a joint campaign we have developed with six other eastern Melbourne councils and the Inner East Primary Care Partnership to tackle ageism across our region.”

Cr McAllister also said that ageism is our last acceptable form of discrimination and it’s far more widespread than most of us realise.

“Ageism is a serious issue affecting older people. It comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be older. It affects the confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health and self-esteem of many older people in our community. At its extreme, ageism contributes to elder abuse,” Cr McAllister said.

“This is an important issue for us. We wanted to start the campaign this week by highlighting and recognising our amazing volunteers, many of whom are older community members.”

The campaign, called Tackling Ageism Together: EveryAGE Counts in Melbourne’s East, is coordinated by the Inner East Primary Care Partnership with support from the Victorian Government.

The seven councils involved are Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges. The campaign also ties into and supports the national EveryAGE Counts campaign and the Eastern Community Legal Centre’s work on preventing elder abuse.

The Mayor said that over the next few months Yarra Ranges Council will be raising awareness about ageism, and encourage people to learn more about it and take action.

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