National Volunteer Week encourages Australians to show gratitude for those who have volunteered and assisted emergency services through difficult times. 

Today is Wear Orange Wednesday or WOW Day and the community is encouraged to wear orange to support those who generously give their time to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Australians. 

Landmarks across the country will also be turning orange for the event. In Sydney, images of workers and volunteers were reflected onto the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge was glowing orange whilst State Emergency Service (SES) NSW volunteers watched. 

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said, after the difficult year of severe storms and floods, it was only appropriate Australians showed their appreciation for the 10,000 NSW SES volunteers. 

“During any disaster, the people of our State know that when they see the men and women in orange, help has arrived and lighted up our landmarks in orange is a fitting tribute,” Mr Elliott said. 

“On behalf of the NSW Government, I want to thank every one of our volunteers – your dedication keeps our State safe.”

Psychology of leadership and motivation researcher Dr Vivien Forner has assisted organisations to improve the volunteering experience to ensure that, even through the COVID-19 pandemic, they maintain the number of volunteers working with them.

“With surf lifesaving, they were interested in my research I’ve been working with them to develop a strategy on their leadership development which identifies certain leadership capabilities that will be effective for retaining volunteers,” Dr Forner said.

“Not many people realise what big role volunteers play and how dependent we are on volunteers.

“National volunteering week is about highlighting the role they play and also celebrating that.”

Feature photograph: Mike McGee