Nearly a quarter of all Australians take part in some sort of volunteer work. National Volunteer Week marks the time to thank those millions of people who donate their time.

It also marks the 25th anniversary of one of the gay and lesbian community’s most enduring and respected volunteer organisations, the Community Services Network (CSN), which was set up in 1985 to help people living with HIV/AIDS who were in need.

ACON is taking the opportunity to host a party for all previous CSN volunteers and their supporters.

“The party will be a great opportunity to pat ourselves on the back and hopefully we we’ll see a number of past volunteers in attendance,” CSN volunteer training coordinator Maureen Rogers said.

“In the early days of CSN it was about friends and relatives who couldn’t stand to see the way their loved ones were being treated, taking them home from hospital to allow them to die with dignity.

“Now it’s about helping people to live with dignity — helping people to stay in their own homes. Helping out with shopping, cleaning, talking with people.”

To Rogers, who has volunteered with CSN for more than 10 years, being involved “adds balance to people’s lives”.

“Our volunteers come from all walks of life — unemployed people, housewives, archeologists ­— and I think they all gain a lot from giving back,” she told Sydney Star Observer.

“It’s also a lot of fun, believe it or not. We have events and parties and go in Mardi Gras, it’s quite a wholesome thing to do.”

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill thanked both CSN volunteers and the hundreds of other people who contributed time to the organisation.

“They all play a vital and valued role in our organisation, right across NSW,” he said.

“We’re enormously grateful for their time and effort and take every opportunity we can to acknowledge their amazing contribution.

“There’s always more work that can be done though, so for those who would like to help make a difference in our community, I would encourage them to contact us.”

CSN volunteers past and present, as well as all their supporters, are welcome to attend the 25th birthday party.
The Birthday Soiree will be held at the Civic Hotel on Friday, May 14, from 6.30pm.

info: For more information, visit www.acon.org.au/hiv/news/csn-25years. RSVP to csn@acon.org.au or call 9206 2031.

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