DIVRS Victorian Premier's Volunteer Champions Award Recipient

DIVRS Victorian Premier's Volunteer Champions Award Recipient

The broad array of volunteering that takes place in Victoria is inspiring and the Awards recognise Victorians who give their time and skills to better the lives of others and their community.

More than 200 million hours are volunteered annually, providing 23 billion dollars to the economy.  1 in 3 Victorians volunteer and more than half have done so for more than 10 years.

There were 229 nominations this year for the Awards, an 87% increase since 2013.

To highlight the significant number of volunteers, and the variety and impact of volunteering effort across the State, 60 volunteers have been formally recognised for their outstanding achievements across five categories.

DIVRS proudly received a teamwork Award for our Emergency Relief service.

Representing the Emergency Relief Team at the time of the Awards are: (back row) David Arche, Pratima Sharma, Lina Shaaban, Marie-Louise Drew, John Coppola, James Cameron, Violet Murphy, Con Hatzi, Sue Pinchbeck, Albina Dal Santo.   The Honourable Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria seated centred.

Representing the Emergency Relief Team at the time of the Awards are: (back row) David Arche, Pratima Sharma, Lina Shaaban, Marie-Louise Drew, John Coppola, James Cameron, Violet Murphy, Con Hatzi, Sue Pinchbeck, Albina Dal Santo.  

The Honourable Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria seated centred.

"The team sustain the delivery of the Emergency Relief Service at a level that cannot be matched by a paid workforce, and provide client centered, intensive support and increase ability to address the underlying causes of financial hardship.

DIVRS is designed to assist people in immediate financial crisis in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self-reliance. This is achieved by a team of volunteers who possess a set of specialised skills in engaging clients with complex and multiple needs. These include strong relationship building skill, knowledge of referral pathways, cultural competency, needs assessments, and an understanding of the broader service sector. Their approach is supportive, confidential, consistent, client-focused and solution-focused. There is a strong emphasis on best practice principal including promoting choice and practicing in a manner that is flexible in response, empowering, strengths based, transparent and clear on ethical boundaries. As a team they possess a high level of personal attributes which include being respectful, empathetic, honest, encouraging, non-judgmental, trusting and these qualities are translated in their ability to consistently engage and produce positive outcomes for clients.

Each week our team of volunteers provide emergency relief services to a minimum of 60 clients through casework support and contribute in excess of 150 hours a week. The longest serving member has committed 17 years to DIVRS."

eBook Launch Harvesting the Urban Orchard

eBook Launch Harvesting the Urban Orchard

Darebin leads the way with a DIY eBook, Harvesting the Urban Orchard’, to guide communities with practical information, tools and tips in establishing their own fruit-harvesting project. 

The advice provided comes from Darebin Information Volunteer Resources Service (DIVRS) and Darebin Fruit Squad's experience in creating more food secure community by re-localising food distribution and production in the City of Darebin.  A service that has harvested and redistributed to vulnerable people more than 6 tons of seasonal fruit. 

Andrew Laidlaw a qualified landscape architect who has been responsible for many high profile landscape design projects around Melbourne, including the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden and Guilfoyle’s Volcano says, “Harvesting the Urban Orchard is an inspiring and clever idea that invites people, regardless of age, gender or race to work together with the urban orchard and make a positive contribution to their local community. I truly believe that this project will be a life changing experience for many of the people who choose to get involved.” 

The eBook can be found HERE and has been generously funded by a R E Ross Trust’s grant and supported by the City of Darebin in the ongoing work with the Darebin Fruit Squad.

“With all our expertise, experience and demand from other municipalities to advise on their development of same or similar projects, we determined it was an efficient and supportive way to freely provide templates and guidance,” says DIVRS Executive Officer, Freedom Preston “actively encouraging communities to respond to food security in a practical way.”


Apple of our Eye

Apple of our Eye

A year ago, motivated by the talents and skills of our Volunteers, the Urban Food Program sought support from like-minded philanthropists and community influencer's and began exploring the possibilities of developing an Urban Food Social Enterprise.

The existing urban orchard of which DIVRS has access to through its Darebin Fruit Squad programme was a small scale of what is believed to be a large resource for the community.  DIVRS at this time had registered 227 fruit trees. Since this concentrated energy was given new life, registered trees have increased by 40%.

DIVRS widen its potential for protecting and harvesting to propagating.  After training an expert team of volunteers in this specialised skill, the idea took flight.  The fruits of their labour are ready to share!  Visit the tab above or click below to purchase your very own Apple Tree.

These Apple Trees directly support the work of DIVRS who actively contribute to reducing food insecurity and increasing sustainability in the City of Darebin.   It is a hand grafted fruit tree that has been carefully grown and nurtured by volunteers.  By purchasing and planting an Apple Tree you will be protecting and preserving the urban orchard for your community and for future generations.      



For a reflective review of DIVRS' 2015-2016 year,  view the tab above 'About Us' and you will be able to download the 2016 Annual Review.

Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service has built on its existing programmes, expertise and capacity, transforming how we explore alternative ways to deliver support for our clients in our youth, emergency relief, urban food and essential community services.

Australian society is rapidly changing. We do not always get it right, nor can we always provide the level of support needed. That's why it is essential we continue to work in partnership with Government, philanthropy and community organisations. It is in the alchemy of collective experience and professionalism that DIVRS delivers incredibly powerful outcomes. 

Over the coming 12 months we will continue development and establish an Urban Food Social Enterprise. As a social innovation, it has the potential to be transformative in connecting and engaging multiple sectors of the community in building a sustainable food system in Darebin. In all we do, we will intentionally create capacity for replication so that we can share successes and learning.

We can change the paradigm and the response to vulnerable families who are socially excluded in Australia, community by community.    We learn by doing, refining and improving.

None of our work would be possible without the support of dedicated volunteers and staff and the generous giving in both time and money from all sections of the community.

Our community and Council has enabled us to achieve excellent results over many years and the past 12 months has been no exception.

I would like to thank our Chair, David Redfearn, for his support and the Committee for their countless hours and expertise, which they give freely.  Experts individually in their fields, their collective wisdom ensures good governance and a strong strategic approach to our development.

I am most grateful for the trust and confidence of our supporters, team and colleagues. It is a pleasure to serve Darebin community and this very passionate organisation.

Managers Review, Freedom Preston-Clark

Managers Review, Freedom Preston-Clark

KOGO Warms our Winter

KOGO Warms our Winter

DIVRS provides over 3,800 types of emergency relief assistance in a year, and this Winter we are able to provide so much more.

A partner community initiative Knit One Give One (KOGO), provides over 62,500 hand crafted winter woollies to the most vulnerable in our community through services like ours.

KOGO have over 5,000 knitters/crocheters across Australia and all are volunteers.

As we approach National Volunteer Week, DIVRS Volunteers thank KOGO for providing basics to our Darebin residents as winter approaches.

You can read more about KOGO by visiting their website www.kogo.org.au

knit one give one - charity knitting project

Olive Preserving – Mediterranean Style

Olive Preserving – Mediterranean Style

Our  Urban Food Programme with produce from the Darebin Fruit Squad will be at the Darebin Home Made Food and Wine Festival this year.   Meet the Mediterranean masters of home grown produce Ilias Papadopoulos (Greece) and Sam Ferraro (Italy), who will show you how easy it is to preserve your home grown olives in a fun and practical workshop.  


Saturday, 14 May 2016 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (AEST) - Add to Calendar


Darebin Intercultural Centre - The Community Kitchen in The Old Preston Courthouse 59A Roseberry Ave (Corner Kelvin Grove), Preston, VIC 3072, Australia - View Map

Tickets SOLD OUT!

Feed Melbourne Feeds Darebin

Darebin residents will benefit from more than $50,000 in Feed Melbourne grants handed to four local food charities.

Three $15,000 grants were last month handed to the Aborigines Advancement League, Big Group Hug and the Whittlesea Community Connections, while the Darebin Information Volunteer & Resource Service (DIVRS) received $11,740.

DIVRS manager Freedom Preston-Clark said the grant would help to purchase fresh food and infant formula, harvesting equipment and a car trailer.

“The grant has given us the tools to gather, collect and harvest more food to distribute,” Ms Preston-Clark said.

The 2015 Feed Melbourne Appeal raised $481,711. The appeal is run by Leader Newspapers, charity FareShare and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Two-thirds of the money will go to 32 Melbourne food charities in the form of grants of up to $15,000. Onethird goes to FareShare, which will help it produce one million charity meals in the next year.

Every dollar donated goes to charities to help them transport, store, cook and distribute rescued food.