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Athletes give thanks to those ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives’

19 May 2020

Australia’s high performance athletes are putting the call out to all sporting participants to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week (18-24 May 2020).

This week marks the 31st anniversary of National Volunteer Week, the annual celebration organised by Volunteering Australia to acknowledge the contribution offered by more than six million Australians who give their time to help communities across the country.

This year’s theme is ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives’ and athletes have joined together to deliver a special #thankyou message to the volunteer coaches, officials, administrators, team managers and the many others that are essential to Australian sport.

Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) CEO Peter Conde said the role that volunteers play in delivering sport across the country and in supporting athletes on their sporting journey should never be undervalued.

"The AIS wants to show our support to Australia’s volunteers through National Volunteers Week, in recognition of the millions of volunteers who make sport possible for so many,” said Conde.

"Working with athletes, we want to share a simple message of 'thank you', to the coaches, officials, team managers, groundskeepers, canteen workers, gear stewards and plenty more, that support the enjoyment of sport across Australia.

"Our high performance athletes all have volunteers who have helped them at many points in their career. This week is our chance to say thanks.

"As we continue on the path to a safe return to sport, we will again be looking towards our sporting volunteers to help get grassroots and high performance sport back up and running.

"Join our athletes in showing your support of National Volunteers Week, share a "thank you" message on social media or pick up the phone to the volunteer that helps in your sport.”

Winter Paralympic alpine skier Sam Tait said had it not been for the volunteers at Disabled Winter Sports Australia, he would not be involved in sport, let alone competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games.

“Disabled Winter Sports Australia were the ones who taught me how to ski, they even gave me my first sit ski. They give up their time to help disabled people get on snow and are a vital part of our community. What we do wouldn't exist without them.” said Tait.

Volunteering often begins at home, with many families contributing directly to their children’s sport. Olympic silver medalist Taylor McKeown has decided to recognise her mum Sharon as part of the AIS #thankyou campaign.

"She does so much to keep University of Sunshine Coast club running smoothly. She works full time and looks after our family and still finds time to manage the USC Spartans. She is selfless and always puts others before herself," says McKeown.

The AIS invites anyone involved in high performance sport to show their support during National Volunteers week and share a #thankyou message to volunteers who make sport possible #NVW2020 #thankyou

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