Hands up if you are a volunteer
Celebrating our unsung heroes
BENEATH the bright morning sun last Wednesday, 40 volunteers gathered at the Heathcote Health maintenance shed for a barbecue breakfast to celebrate International Volunteers Day. The event was part of a wider day of recognition, acknowledging the efforts of volunteers around the world and the value they bring to their communities.
Volunteers attended from several local groups and organisations including Mandalay Resources, Heathcote Community House, Royal Flying Doctors Service, the Ambulance Auxiliary, Lions and IGA. This year’s theme — volunteers build resilient communities — recognised the role volunteers play in strengthening local communities and advocating for change.
Heathcote Health chief executive Dan Douglass said volunteers played a ‘critical’ role in rural communities such as Heathcote.
“Many community groups, particularly the smaller ones, run on the smell of an oily rag,” he said. “Without volunteers they simply couldn’t oper- ate. Studies show that one volunteer is worth $27-$35 hour. Multiplied, the impact can be huge for a community group and a town”.
But Mr Douglass said the benefits of having volunteers extended beyond the financial.
“It’s a great way for people to develop new skills and build a pathway into paid employment,” he said. “It’s also a great way of building relationships with the community, which creates a sense of belonging. People tell me it improves their sense of wellbeing, too”. What volunteering means to me
“Lions is involved in the community in so many ways. It’s a great way to connect and to give back. New members are always welcome — in fact, we’d love to have you.” Heathcote Lions Club’s Greg and Lorraine Speirs.
“Volunteering has helped me develop new skills and confidence. I like how knowledge is shared between people, it’s not formal like study. Overall, I feel like I’m part of something bigger and that means a lot,’’ Heathcote Community House’s Linda Cornelissen.
“We donate food to community groups around town. I like the fact that I can work at a job where I’m making a difference.” IGA’s Gerry Pickett.
“Before I retired I used to drive trucks and buses. Driving patients to appointments means that I’m still using my skills, as well as helping people maintain their independence.’’ Royal Flying Doctors Service’s Tom Forman.
Volunteers in Heathcote celebrate International Volunteer Day last week. For more pictures from the event, turn to page 3.