We usually have approximately 20 volunteers assisting with the delivery of our legal services - taking calls during advice shifts, responding to website inquiries, providing paralegal support and undertaking other administrative duties crucial to our casework practice.
In 2021/22, our Casework Administration volunteers assisted with intake and the administration of more than 2000 matters, including assisting many people who contacted the Centre in a state of distress. While engaging with clients in a warm and efficient manner, our Casework Administration volunteers contribute more than $170,000 worth of services to our Centre each year. We couldn’t do it without them!
You can learn more about becoming a Volunteer here.
Mark is currently in his third year of volunteering, having started in January 2020 after a short stint at another community legal centre. He's continued to volunteer at Welfare Rights Centre because he enjoys seeing staff and other vollies each week but mainly because he enjoys talking to clients - hearing their stories and struggles, and helping in whatever way he can.
Mark says that one of the most valuable things he's learned is how to be a careful listener. Often clients call, sometimes very upset, wanting to talk about recent traumatic events so it's important to listen carefully and to then hone in on the legal issues. He also feels he's become more compassionate as he's seen how people are thrown into the most difficult of circumstances. Poverty can happen to anyone.
Mark's grateful that volunteering has taught him to always be curious and to ask people about their stories rather than relying on assumptions. As he nears the end of his combined Business/Law degree, he's thinking he'll pursue a legal practice that deals with everyday people and the problems that affect them.
Claudia began volunteering at Welfare Rights Centre in February 2021 after hearing great things about volunteering at community legal centres from other law students. Welfare Rights Centre's specialisation in social security law was definitely a draw-card, and she's found that the complex cross-section of so many legal and social issues makes for dynamic and interesting work.
Claudia's volunteering role has provided her with great insights into the community justice sector. She's loved having a front row seat to observe the skill and empathy of the solicitors as they work to apply the rigid limits of the law to the complex lives of vulnerable people, reflecting an ethos grounded in justice and human dignity. She sees the Centre's solicitors as the legal system's 'humble heroes' - their work in restoring financial security genuinely changing their clients' quality of life.
Claudia says that liaising with and hearing clients' stories has opened her eyes to how the law interacts with the complexity and messiness of life, especially life on the margins of society. As she works her way through her Bachelor of Law/Politics, she's considering working in administrative law. Witnessing the work of Welfare Rights Centre has sparked an interest in legal work that services communities and empowers the people within them. Claudia says that volunteering at the Centre is an amazing opportunity as your work really does help keep the cogs of the Centre turning, and she'd highly recommend it to anyone!
Our Communications volunteers assist with research and the many other tasks required to implement our Communications Strategy, including producing content for social media and the design of our Annual Reports. Whether developing campaigns, creating still images and video, writing text, providing editing assistance, or assisting with our community legal education program, their insight and efforts are invaluable!
In 2020/21, our Communications volunteers worked to expand our communications program to include four social media platforms and also helped create core documents, including videos and our Annual Report. It's often their work you'll be looking at on our social media feeds.
You can learn more about becoming a Communications volunteer at Volunteer With Us.