“You really do feel as if you are a part of something special, part of something that can do good in the lives of those less fortunate.”  – Jake, Society member, WA

 

The benefits of becoming a member

Society members are passionate about helping those in need in their local community and work together in groups known as 'Conferences' that are usually attached to; parishes, schools, universities, social groups, workplaces, or groups of individuals from the local area.

The Society would not exist without its members and volunteers; they are the Society. They live their faith in action by visiting people in their homes or in the community, providing friendship and support to those they serve and to each other. They are called to seek out the poor and marginalised wherever they may be.

 

 

What does a member do?

Our members, who come from diverse backgrounds, experiences and beliefs, bring a great depth of understanding, expertise and compassion to their service and involvement in the Society. 

“No work of charity is foreign to the Society”

Dependent on local need, members have the opportunity to be involved in a range of services, including home visitation and:

  • Education, training and supported employment opportunities
  • Homeless services
  • Disaster relief
  • Mobile and fixed meal services
  • Migrant and refugee services
  • Housing support and emergency accommodation
  • Mentoring and social support programs
  • Advocacy
  • Youth programs – including family, teen, kids, and young carers camps, ‘Buddies Days’, mentoring programs, tutoring and homework clubs, and much more
  • Budget counselling
  • Material assistance; and
  • Much more.

“The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them.” - St Vincent de Paul

Members also meet regularly to share their experiences, reflect on their service, and monitor and discuss local needs. The Society’s founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, believed strongly that for each act of service to be a true expression of faith and love, members must come together in prayer, to explore and grow their personal and Vincentian spirituality.

Learn more about the role of Conference Presidents

Vinnies youth: Members congregate in North Tamborine for Rekindle the flame event.

FAQs

Do members have to be Catholic?

No. The Society welcomes people of all backgrounds and beliefs. The Society is a Catholic lay organisation however, and exploring and sharing our Vincentian spirituality is an integral component. To enable a full experience of the Society and individual acts of service, Members are encouraged to be open to prayer and reflection.

What is Vincentian spirituality?

Those who seek to live their lives and their faith in the spirit of St Vincent de Paul are known as Vincentians. Central to Vincentian spirituality is:

  • To see Christ in the poor and marginalised.
  • To be one with the poor.
  • To serve with humility, authenticity, and without judgment.
  • To give of one’s self, rather than the simple provision of material assistance.

Vincentian’s see their work as a continuation of Christ’s own work.

Who do members help?

The Society’s members help anyone in need, regardless of their background, culture, religion or political opinion. One of the principle tenets of the Society is to meet people where they are; be it in their home, in hospital, in detention, on the street.

What age can I become involved with the Society?

  • Mini Vinnies
4 to 12 years (primary school age)
  • High School/College Conferences
12 to 18 years (secondary school age)
  • Youth & Young Adult Conferences  
17 to 35 years
  • Society Members 
18 years +

How much time/commitment is required to be a member?

The Society recognises that the level of involvement members and volunteers can commit to will vary depending on their personal circumstances such as; study, work, and family commitments. For this reason, the Society holds three forms of membership:

  • Conference members committed to living the Society mission and serving those in need and attending regular conference meetings.
  • Associate members committed to living the Society mission and serving those in need but do not attend conference meetings.
  • Volunteer members Support the mission of the Society through acts of voluntary service in any of the Society’s works (programs).

Meetings and opportunities to engage in acts of service occur during and outside business hours, dependent on the local membership. While it varies from conference to conference, members generally meet fortnightly and those participating in home visitation, usually do so on a weekly basis.

Youth and Young Adult conferences are often involved in services that range in commitment from weekly or fortnightly (such as homework clubs) through to monthly or quarterly, (such as mobile/fixed meal services, detention centre visits or kids camps).
Members and volunteers are supported to adjust their commitment as their personal circumstances change.

Are there leadership opportunities for members?

There are lots of opportunities for members to contribute to the leadership of the Society. This includes formal positions such as; president, treasurer and secretary roles within conferences, regions, states and nationally; as well as volunteer coordinators and/or representatives for special programs and services, youth representatives, spiritual advisers, again at all levels of the Society’s organisational structure. Of equal importance are opportunities to mentor and journey with fellow Members in their Vincentian journey.

What support is provided to members?

The Society provides ongoing training and formation opportunities to support members in their service to those in need and to deepen their understanding and expression of the Society’s mission. This includes training in; Society programs, Workplace Health and Safety, Child protection, as well as formation opportunities such as; retreats, festival days, pilgrimages and immersion programs, and more.

How to join us

"I would like to embrace the whole world in a network of charity." – Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Adults wishing to become members

If you’re interested in becoming a member, please contact your local conference for details on their next meeting and information on the services they provide. 

To locate and connect with your nearest conference, have a chat to:

Your local Parish Priest

Your nearest Vinnies Shop; or

Your relevant St Vincent de Paul Society State/Territory office on the details below:

  • Australian Capital Territory
(02) 6282 2722 volunteer@svdp-cg.org.au
(02) 9560 8666

membership@vinnies.org.au

  • Northern Territory
(08) 8948 8100 admin@svdpnt.org.au
  • Queensland 
(07) 3010 1000 admin@svdpqld.org.au
  • South Australia
(08) 8112 8700 volunteering@svdpsa.org.au
  • Tasmania 
(03) 6333 0822 admin@vinniestas.org.au
  • Victoria 
(03) 9895 5800 volunteer@svdp-vic.org.au
  • Western Australia
(08) 9475 5400 volunteer@svdpwa.org.au
  • There is also a local Vinnies search tool on the Society’s website:
http://www.vinnies.org.au
   

Youth and Young Adults

For youth and young adults interested in joining your local conference, and/or teachers interested in establishing a Mini Vinnies or High School/College Conference at your school, please contact the relevant Society Youth and Young Adult staff in your State/Territory on the details below:

  • Australian Capital Territory
(02) 6234 7384 youth@svdp-cg.org.au  
 
  •  Armidale

(02) 6772 1785

armidaleyouth@vinnies.org.au

  •  Bathurst

(02) 6362 2565

bathurstyouth@vinnies.org.au

  • Broken Bay

(02) 9495 8306

bbayyouth@vinnies.org.au
  • Lismore
(02) 6698 050 svdp@vinnieslismore.org
  • Maitland/Newcastle

(02) 4032 3560

maitland.newcastle@vinnies.org.au

 
  • Parramatta

(02) 8861 9740

parrayouth@vinnies.org.au
  • Sydney

(02) 9350 9651

youth@sydneyvinnies.org   

  • Wagga Wagga

(02) 6971 7175

waggayouth@vinnies.org.au
  • Wollongong

(02) 4627 9013

youth@svdpwgong.org.au

  • Wilcannia Forbes

(02) 6862 5758

forbesyouth@vinnies.org.au
  • Northern Territory
(08) 8948 8170 youth@svdpnt.org.au
  • Queensland
(07) 3010 1000 youth@svdpqld.org.au
  • South Australia
(08) 8112 8710

volunteering@svdpsa.org.au

  • Tasmania
(03) 6333 0822 admin@vinniestas.org.au
  • Victoria
(03) 9895 5840 youth@svdp-vic.org.au
  • Western Australia
(08) 9475 5400 youth@svdpwa.org.au

 

 

Home visitation: our core work

Home visitation has been the core work of the St Vincent de Paul Society since our 20 year old founder Frederic Ozanam and his university friends visited people experiencing disadvantage in the poor areas of 1830s Paris.

Since then the work of Frederic Ozanam has spread around the globe. St Vincent de Paul Society members today take the lessons taught by Frederic to understand the underlying causes and circumstances that can cause social divide and lead to people experiencing disadvantage.

Each day across Australia more than 20,000 Society members continue to visit people in their homes so that the Society can provide the best possible assistance. Members assist people in a number of ways including providing people with referral information, advocacy, food or food vouchers, clothing, furniture, budget support, assistance with utility bills or back to school costs.

Providing crucial support: a case study

 
When Joan and William first migrated from England to the warm NSW coastal region of Lismore they embraced their new life with gusto.

Everything was going from strength to strength until William was sadly diagnosed with cancer and was no longer able to work. Joan was facing health problems of her own battling serious osteoporosis which needed pain management medication.

The couple had lived in Australia for nine years but weren’t yet Australian citizens so were unable to receive government support or health benefits to assist with their high medical costs.  With no income and the bills mounting, the couple were struggling to keep up with their rent and food costs.

That’s when they turned to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

The Society stepped in and provided urgent financial assistance for Joan’s pain medication and the couple’s rent. Staff also assisted them in their citizenship process meaning they were able to eventually get subsidised medications and a health care card. 

Joan said that the financial and emotional support that the Society provided to them was a lifesaver. 

“Without Vinnies I do not know where we would be. We are eternally grateful for what they have done for us and without their help we would not have survived,” said Joan.

 

Become a member

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society Conference near you, please click on this link for member information and you will be taken to a list of contacts in your state or territory.

Find Help

Nationally, the St Vincent de Paul Society offers in excess of two hundred programs and services designed to help those who are socially excluded and marginalised. We do this by respecting people's dignity, sharing our hope, and encouraging them to take control of their own destiny.

To see a full list of services provided by the Society in your state or territory visit the Find Help section on this website or click on the links below.

ACT    NSW    NT    QLD     SA    TAS    VIC     WA