A new toolkit is helping Bendigo volunteer organisations ensure people from culturally diverse communities are supported. The City of Greater Bendigo, with the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre and the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, developed the checklist to encourage organisations to work effectively with diverse communities.
The City of Greater Bendigo, with the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre and the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, developed the checklist to encourage organisations to work effectively with diverse communities.
“I think it’s extremely important and we’re really excited that there has been this initiative,” Multicultural Services manager Rose Vincent said. “For us, we get approached by a lot of organisations with the demographic here in Bendigo changing so rapidly in the last 10 years.
“It’s awesome to see so many businesses and organisations responding to the change that has happened and wanting to support people that are working in some of the communities, but also becoming more inclusive spaces themselves.”
More than 25 per cent of people living in Greater Bendigo have a parent who was born in a country other than Australia.
The toolkit allows an organisation to assess whether they are at a beginning, developing or advanced level in areas like embracing diverse cultural customs and beliefs of volunteers, and whether the organisations have tasks available for people with limited English fluency.
“I really value the cultural competency continuum that actually outlines the theory of what we’re aiming for,” Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre chair Julie Rivendell said. “We’re looking very comprehensively at something that will assist virtually any organisation to improve.”
The City of Greater Bendigo worked with the other organisations to ensure the toolkit was as straightforward as possible.
“We wanted to make it really user friendly, not a heavy policy document,” the City’s inclusive communities officer Jac Torres-Gomez said.
The toolkit also gives some power back to volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Ms Vincent said.
“It encourages people from a CALD background to volunteer,” she said. “It’s also a beautiful way to feel a sense of belonging.
“Once you start to be able to not only receive support from others but to be able to give support to others, it makes you feel quickly more part of the community.”