This project is a case study of how social service providers could nurture volunteering in CALD communities to reach out to older people at a higher risk of social isolation. We focus on an under-researched model of community volunteering, which has been practised by Chinese Australian Services Society Ltd. (Huaren Fuwu She 華人服務社, here in after as "CASS") for more than a decade. This co-designed research is funded by Multicultural NSW providing SPRC and CASS jointly contribute to the project. The central question for this research is: how has CASS managed its volunteer activities to allow continuous contributions from CALD older people?

The research:

  1. Collected primary data which involves interviews with CASS senior and junior staff members, interviews and surveys with volunteers and participants of activity groups.
  2. organised workshops between SPRC, CASS, other volunteer organisations, and local councils to discuss how to support and sustain volunteering in the Chinese communities.
  3. self-governance model of volunteer support which
  4. produced a project launch event that included knowledge sharing between Chinese and non-Chinese volunteers.  
  5. Interviewed by SBS Chinese service to advocate old age volunteering in the Chinese communities

The research found that older Chinese people, particularly those whose English is not proficient and relatively new to the country, are motivated to become self-reliant and contribute to society. However, they face language and institutional and cultural barriers that are difficult to navigate. These barriers turned them into 3D older people (disoriented, disconnected and dependent). It is important to support them to become fully engaged in the dynamic volunteering culture in Australia. This research established that the assisted self-governance model developed by CASS over 40 years could provide useful insight. The research suggests that developing “volunteer incubators” can be a promising approach to nurturing volunteering in CALD communities.

Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Research Area

Disability | Chinese Social Policy