Volunteer Marlborough (with assistance from volunteers), on behalf of the voluntary & community sector, and in conjunction with the Volunteer Centre Network of Aotearoa (VCNA) submitted a list of questions to those running for local office here in Marlborough. For consistency, effort has been made to ask the same questions of all candidates around the country.
Here, we hear from BARBARA FAULLS, current Councillor and running again:
What role do you think Council has in supporting a thriving Marlborough region for the voluntary & community sector?
Council already supports many voluntary and community groups and has a strong advocacy and advisory role with staff members such as Jodie Griffiths who are Community and Volunteer focussed. Council also supports community grants which cater to the needs of Volunteer organisations.
What do you think are the significant obstacles and opportunities facing the Marlborough region's voluntary & community sector over the next few years? If elected, how would you address these opportunities and obstacles?
Volunteer fatigue, the effects of Covid and the fear that people still have of going out and being in big groups, the lack of young people becoming volunteers, the situation of the “same old people doing the same old jobs” and a lot of volunteering falling to the very few. How do we attract youth into these organisations? How do we make it “cool”?
How do you view volunteering in the community? i.e. Is it important? What value do volunteers bring? And, if elected, how would you personally support the voluntary & community sector in Marlborough?
I already do support the Voluntary and Community sector and have volunteered on many community committees and organisations for many years. As an elected official it is important to keep in touch with these organisations and to ensure that their needs are met.
We've had a lot of extreme weather events around the country lately, and we are rather earthquake prone as a country. How do you see the role of volunteers as part of the disaster response locally?
I actively encourage communities to become self reliant and resilient. This often involves me linking them with the appropriate Civil Defence liaison person. As the Chair of SAG and as a Marlborough Sounds Ward Councillor I have had plenty of opportunity to assist in times of disaster response. Volunteers are vital, but it is also vital that residents are able to fend for themselves for at least a couple of days as in some cases, it might be that long before any form of help can get to them.
How do you see Council and community organisations working together to build a robust, resilient, and welcoming region and community?
Marlborough already is a welcoming region and has been for years!
I think I have already answered this question…it is important to keep in touch with all of these groups and to advocate for them and advise them where appropriate.
If you are successful in these local elections, how will you recognise and support the vital role of volunteers, volunteer-involving-organisations, and volunteer support services in the electorate? And how might you see yourself working with Volunteer Marlborough?
Again, see above….I already do support many voluntary organisations. I would work with Volunteer Marlborough in the same way that I do with other groups…I.e if invited to meetings or if contacted by VM people I would try to attend or help.
What impact do you perceive volunteers to have in our community? (Volunteer submitted)
Without volunteers, so many of our events and activities would have to be shelved and that does not aid the health and well being of a region. We need these diverse events and options in order for everyone to thrive.
Have you ever volunteered, and would you recommend it to others? (Volunteer submitted)
I have volunteered on many diverse committees and groups over the years and still volunteer on several of these as an individual rather than as a Councillor.
How do you think volunteers and not-for-profits could better the community even further? (Volunteer submitted)
By enabling events and organisations to function, thus providing well being benefits for all
In what ways do you think Volunteer Marlborough could help to improve local volunteer programmes and further support not-for-profit organisations? (Volunteer submitted)
By getting all volunteer organisations in a room together and discussing where the overlaps are and where the gaps are. As a Councillor, it is frustrating at Annual Plan time to see several groups all trying to do the same thing when they could join and do it so much better together.
What regional policies do you think are the most important for supporting our local organisations and volunteers in the sector so that they flourish rather than perish? (Volunteer submitted)
MDC already supports volunteers and provides a Community Support staff member. This liaison is vital and very beneficial. MDC recognises the worth of volunteer organisations.
What resources and support do you plan to implement or maintain in order to continue to develop and support the not-for-profit sector as it stands? (Volunteer submitted)
There is already a lot of support in place and there are also community grants that voluntary organisations can apply for. These, coupled with the MDC community staff members should cover all bases. As mentioned though, it is time that all groups got in a room together and worked out common areas and where the gaps are. That would make the system a lot more efficient.
What message would you like to share with the volunteers of our region? (Volunteer submitted)
Keep up the good work! Volunteer hours often go unrecognised and not thanked, but the value to the region is immense. I certainly aim to keep volunteering for as long as I can and I encourage my children to do so as well.
Thank you, Barbara, for taking the time to answer these questions!