Kate Hickey from Hydro Tasmania, left, and Governor Kate Warner.

Volunteers are worth almost $5 billion to Tasmania and one corporation, Hydro Tasmania, has been highlighted for its employee program encouraging staff to give back to the community.

The 2018 Southern Cross Television Tasmanian Volunteering Awards involved 27 finalists across a range of categories with winners announced at a ceremony at Government House, hosted by Patron of Volunteering Tasmania, Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, Governor of Tasmania.

Volunteering Tasmania CEO Alison Lai thanked those who gave their time and energy, saying that from a financial perspective, the contribution from volunteers was conservatively estimated to be worth at least $4.9billion each year to the island.

“Every single volunteer is contributing to this extraordinary figure, including those who are able to help every day, once a week, every few months or once a year, this figure also includes the contribution of corporate volunteers who are supported by their companies to make a difference.”

Corporate Award finalists included MyState Bank, Tenants’ Union of Tasmania and Hydro Tasmania, with the latter taking out the category.

Hydro Tasmania Community Coordinator Kate Hickey said almost half of Hydro’s employees take part in the organisation’s volunteer program, which recognises the value of volunteering for professional and personal growth.

Employees at Hydro can work with any community organisation of their choice.

“Our people are encouraged to do all forms of volunteering – one-off or ongoing, projects, or skilled volunteering,” Ms Hickey said.

“The Hydro’ is made up of people whose families live and work around Tasmania in big and small communities. By offering a corporate volunteering program our people have the flexibility and encouragement to get involved and volunteer for activities of their choice.

“Research shows that people who volunteer are healthier and happier but volunteering can also improve professional skills, such as, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and creative thinking.

“We also know that diversity is good for business. Through volunteering our people get to work in a completely different environment. They can then apply these new ideas and different ways of approaching issues to their work.

“Over 40 per cent of our people volunteer. It is amazing to think that these small acts can change someone’s life. Our corporate volunteering program is a way for our people to share their expertise and be part of their community, improve their health, boost their skills and bring new ideas to their work.”