1,000 Volunteers and counting...

Since 2010, Kinfolk's Volunteer Program has seen more than a thousand people through its doors. Unified by an ethos of radical inclusion, our program seeks to foster community and participation for marginalised people from complex circumstances and diverse backgrounds. Volunteers learn employability skills and participate in capacity-building in a real-world hospitality context. Based out of Sibling, the volunteer program will soon enter a new phase - one where participants are offered the chance at a Certificate 2 in Hospitality, thanks to a collaboration with Fitzroy Learning Network.

“An invaluable aspect of being on the Sibling [&] Kinfolk team is the relationships that are formed. Our life stories and backgrounds are all vastly different, but we can all gather around the table and feel like family."

- Volunteer

“This past year working with the staff at Sibling and Kinfolk has been life-changing. I have had to quit jobs in the past because of anxiety, having anxiety attacks on my way to work, or not being able to sleep. Learning in a supportive environment such as this has allowed me to tackle the steep learning curve of working in hospitality. I have learned how to multitask in stressful situations while keeping my cool.”

- Volunteer

"Sibling Café has been an amazing organisation to support my 15 year-old son who has a disability. The staff must be credited in the way they mentor him and have provided him with valuable experience in all aspects involved in running the front end of a café. This hands-on work experience has provided him so much confidence and pride in himself."

- Volunteer Parent

Volunteer goals and circumstances

When joining the program, volunteers are asked to describe their goals, their circumstances and what barriers they may be facing. This allows us to tailor our training to the individual and ensure they have agency in their progress. On average, 67% of incoming volunteers identify one or more barriers to employment, and 16% identify upwards of three.

What volunteers are seeking:

  • 79% report seeking employment or a career change
  • 70% report wishing to learn new skills
  • 49% report wanting to build confidence

Barriers to employment:

  • 42% are experiencing unemployment
  • 24% are living with mental health challenges
  • 21% are living with a disability
  • 14% are experiencing social isolation

Apply to Volunteer

​If you are interested in volunteering, we encourage you to apply. Our Volunteer Manager will be in touch about future opportunities. Please note, there is an application & training process, with a wait list of weeks or months before positions arise.

Apply to volunteer

Volunteer Profile: Saira

Meet Saira, one of our volunteers at Sibling. Saira’s studying Community Services at Uni, and when a friend working in the sector recommended she consider volunteer positions to supplement her studies, she found our listing. Thanks to a well-timed application, within a couple of weeks she was doing her first volunteer shift.

Saira was drawn to our volunteer program because it offered the opportunity to work alongside people of different capacities and skills and to see a capacity-building program from the inside.

As you could probably guess, Saira lives and breathes community engagement. She aims to carve a career for herself working with disadvantaged groups and contributing to communities that she herself has benefited from. She travels almost 3 hours roundtrip to attend uni & volunteer shifts - which is just one of many indicators of how driven and committed she is to gathering experience and being a proactive participant in the community.

When she’s not studying or volunteering, you can find Saira practicing her acrylic nail art on anyone that will sit still long enough.

Volunteer Profile: Nina

Meet Nina. Nina’s been volunteering with us for over 3 years - first at Kinfolk and now at Sibling (which she prefers because the floorplan is easier to memorise). Nina was initially drawn to the program by a partnership with Cathy Freeman Foundation, and has been a regular fixture ever since. She likes working the floor and thinks it’s really important to greet customers and make them feel welcome through a good customer service experience.

When she’s not volunteering at Sibling, Nina likes to keep busy - working at an Op Shop, going to yoga and the gym - and most importantly walking her new labrador, Polo.

When asked if she’d recommend the volunteer program to friends she says “I wouldn’t just recommend it to friends, I’d recommend it to everyone! If you normally have anxiety applying for jobs, don’t worry. Everyone’s included - no matter what race, or whether you have a disability.”

Nina’s glad to be back and looking forward to adding more coffee-making know-how to her skillset.

Volunteer Profile: Zander

Meet Zander. Zander’s been a member of the Kinfolk Volunteer Community for over 5 years. He started at Kinfolk serving coffees and breakfast for the busy CBD crowd & now volunteers once a week at Sibling where the front-of-house is his domain. Zander likes to serve drinks, breakfasts and lunch, & if you can’t decide what to eat he’d recommend the Chilli Scrambled Eggs or the Mushroom Toastie. A coffee connoisseur, Zander makes the coffees at home and occasionally gets on the espresso machine at Sibling too.

When he’s not volunteering, Zander keeps a full calendar - attending AFL matches (especially when the Hawks are playing) and going to car races all over Australia (from Phillip Island to Port Douglas) with his Dad & friends. On weekends he helps his Mum care for their dressage horses on the family farm near the Macedon Ranges.

If there’s a weekend where Zander’s many interests and responsibilities aren’t keeping him busy, you might find him holidaying in South East Asia.