A prize that is in the best hands with volunteers

A prize that is in the best hands with volunteers
Thalheim’s mayor Andreas Stockinger, state councilor Markus Achleitner and LMP Klaus Lindinger (from left) informed about the new price on Tuesday.

Where would Upper Austria’s clubs and emergency organizations be if it weren’t for the many volunteers and their active help? Volunteering is still very popular after the Corona period; around 60 percent of Upper Austrians are involved in voluntary work.

In the Wels-Land district, the ÖVP is now launching a new non-partisan award for volunteers called the “Voluntary Hand”. “In addition to the 720 registered clubs in Wels-Land, there are voluntarily committed individuals who do a lot for our society and do much more than the call of duty,” said district party chairman Klaus Lindinger yesterday when presenting the prize in the Thalheim municipal office.

From December 5th, International Volunteer Day, local parties can submit suggestions. The prizes in the gold, silver and bronze categories will be awarded for the first time at a celebratory event in January. The trophy for the winners with the symbol of two touching hands is made by the Diakonie in Bad Wimsbach. No monetary reward is provided. “That would contradict voluntary work,” said Lindinger.

State Councilor Markus Achleitner emphasized: “We want to appreciate the volunteers for their work, but also motivate them to get involved themselves.” He also referred to the state’s planned voluntary work strategy in order to better coordinate the diverse activities and to develop new structures and measures that promote voluntary work. “The federal government’s decision to expand the tax deductibility of donations to the entire non-profit sector from January 2024 also means tailwind for volunteer work.”

There is also a volunteer allowance. Non-profit associations can pay their members the “small” flat rate of 80 euros per month, tax-free and social security-free, for expenses such as mileage allowance; the “large” flat rate of 250 euros per month applies to charitable organizations.

Thalheim’s mayor Andreas Stockinger also pointed out that youth work in the communities takes place almost exclusively in clubs.

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