A survey from Rural Councils Victoria has shown four Wimmera municipalities - Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, West Wimmera and Buloke Shire - top the state when it comes to the percentage of community volunteers.
The 2021 Demographic Destiny report collated data from the census, Bureau of Statistics and other sources to develop a snapshot of the 38 shires represented by Rural Councils Victoria.
A key finding from the report was that more than 30 per cent of the adult population in the four Wimmera shires participated in some form of volunteering, compared to a state average of 16 per cent.
Centre for Participation chief executive Robbie Millar said the data was not a surprise to him and that volunteering was the lifeblood of regional communities.
"We know that volunteer data is under-reported broadly and participation rates are far higher," he said.
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"We also know that many don't see what they do as volunteering. Some examples of this might be related to cultural differences, terminology or merely the fact that many see helping out the Kindergarten committee or the local football club as the thing you do and may not associate this as an act of volunteering.
"We are not surprised, however, that participation rates for volunteering are high across our region. We know volunteering is the lifeblood of rural and remote communities.
"A lack of adequate services, support and even transport across our region mean that as a rural community we have to step up."
The Centre for Participation offers many volunteering opportunities across the Wimmera, including the L2P driving program, the Kaniva to Horsham community bus, social support activities, shopping assistance and non-emergency medical transports.
The group also supports volunteer organisations in the outlying Wimmera municipalities through their Volunteers Managers network.
Mr Millar encouraged people to join the centre's volunteer introduction sessions, which matches participants with volunteer organisations.
"This can be a great way to start volunteering, whilst also ensuring you have all the relevant information, advice and guidelines upfront and prior to committing to anything.
"It is really important to follow your passion though, so try and choose something that interests you if you can," he said.
"Every act of volunteering contributes to stronger, more resilient communities and no act goes unnoticed."
For more information, call the centre on 5382 5607.
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