Eastern Volunteers is an innovative not-for-profit, non political volunteer resource centre operating in the Cities of Maroondah and Whitehorse and parts of the Shire of Yarra Ranges. We recruit and train over 800 volunteers for over 350 agencies annually and operate a volunteer driver assisted transport program for the frail, aged and people with disabilities. We are dedicated to providing a vital service for the social and physical wellbeing of our community.
We originally commenced operation as Volunteers Unlimited in 1976. In the first three years we placed 389 volunteers in 136 organisations and assisted 126 individuals in areas not covered by other agencies. Our volunteer services ranged from driver assistance to the frail and people with disabilities, opportunity shop and home helpers to personal carers and office staff.
In 1984 Volunteers Unlimited became incorporated and our name changed to Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre Inc. (EV). Until the mid 1990’s our funding was largely dependant on local government grants, donations and fund raising events. However, in 1993/4 the Department of Health and Community Services (HACC) allocated funds for transport, training and equipment that allowed employment of additional staff, further project development, increased operating hours and purchase of special vehicles for transport services.
Transport demand (particularly by HACC recipients) rose steadily from 19,500 km in 1989 to 184,500 km in 1999. This led to the establishment of the Eastern Transport Register to assist agencies across seven municipalities to efficiently share transport resources through a centralised computer database.
In 2000 we established an EV annex office in Healesville (now operating in the Lilydale area) and in 2006 a small office in the Box Hill Community Hub.
The first 3 year Home and Community Care funding agreement was signed in 2003/4 providing us with greater certainty of future funding. But this income still falls short of our operating costs. Fundraising has therefore become an integral part of our operation and persistence and innovation have become the hallmark of Eastern Volunteers.
Office accommodation, after numerous relocations in the past, also remains inadequate and in 2008 the EV Board of Management resolved to purchase its own of premises. We are currently considering new fund raising options for this purpose.
Over our 30 year plus history we (EV) have proved to be a resourceful organisation, willing and able to adapt our services to ever changing and growing community needs and meet financial and other challenges as they arise. This success is largely due to the dedication and outstanding work of hundreds of volunteers and the commitment of staff. This same spirit will help us meet new challenges in the future.