Volunteers make a world of difference to community life and vitality. Eurobodalla Council has joined organisations across the nation to celebrate and thank volunteers for their tremendous contribution during National Volunteer Week.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes said many vital services enjoyed by shire residents were only made possible by volunteers.
“Council has more than 700 registered volunteers who work across a range of our services and programs,” she said.
“We have 125 people who give up their time to assist in our community transport and social support programs, helping seniors and people with a disability in our community. These volunteers help with transport to medical appointments and grocery shopping, teach new skills, and keep them connected to the community.
“We have about 300 people volunteering in the 24 Eurobodalla Landcare groups. They are pulling weeds, clearing waterways, planting trees to control erosion; collectively they log about 10,000 hours each year.
“Earlier this year we had 160 Clean Up Australia Day volunteers working to clear up our shire’s streets, beaches and bushland at 35 sites across the shire – that’s not counting the efforts of school kids from 13 of the shire’s schools.”
Clr Innes said other people volunteering with Council included the YDrive mentors who helped get young people on the road and into jobs, approximately 130 people who played a pivotal role in the success of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, the diverse members of the Eurobodalla Marine Debris Working Group, and 20 volunteers to staff the Bas.
“They’re just the tip of the iceberg when you consider all the volunteering outside of Council,” Clr Innes said.
“Across the country there’s an estimated 6 million registered volunteers and many more who volunteer informally. We all know someone who goes above and beyond, puts others before themselves, or gives up their time for the betterment of our community,” she said.
Eurobodalla Council’s volunteer development officer Beth Jewell coordinates volunteers for Council’s community transport, social support and some NDIS programs.
“We have 125 trained and experienced volunteers who collectively contribute 17,500 hours each year,” Ms Jewell said.
“Their contribution is estimated to be worth more than $750,000 of in-kind support for our community.”
Ms Jewell said volunteering was a two-way street.
“Volunteers tell me they want to give back, and that they enjoy meeting new people and learning new skills.
“We always have opportunities for people wanting to contribute. Right now we’re encouraging more people from Narooma and the south of the shire to get involved.”
Above: Christian Lucas from Council's Guy Street residential facility assists at a vehicle-hoist training day for some of Council’s 125 community-care volunteers.