May 26 - June 1, 2019: Issue 406


Pittwater Volunteers: Making A World Of Difference Locally For Over 100 Years

Careel Bay Restoring Sydney Freshwater Wetlands Bushcare Group - Final Field Day - May 25th, 2019

Since commencement the bulk of Pittwater Online News Profiles have been about community groups run by volunteers whether they're looking after the bush, restoring areas, teaching others how to use new technology or how to sail, saving lives on the beaches, saving lives on the road or keeping themselves appraised on how to fight fires and actually fighting bushfires here and further afield, participating in residents associations - some of which have been going for over 100 years, helping out as part of a team that ensures local sports can happen in everything from marking the lines on the field to being there at dawn on game day to set up the flags or man and woman the barbecue, looking out for others by forming and running a palliative care group or our beloved hospital auxiliary, which has consistently raised funds for equipment for decades, or even starting community gardens.

In fact Pittwater has volunteers that are engaged in raising awareness about how to look after and celebrate our oceans, volunteers that began and keep running the Pittwater Artists Trail, volunteers that share and gather History, volunteers that spend their money and time doing anything they can for our sister village of Soibada, volunteers that run fishing, swimming, bowling, pentaque, sight assisted bowling, youth clubs, rowing clubs, surfing clubs, making cloth bags to get rid of plastic bags, looking out for our heritage or conducting tours through our heritage, saving our wildlife and even groups that get together to make very sweet and fine music for the rest of us - and they're all doing it as volunteers.

When you scan through the list of individuals we've run as Profiles they too are all volunteers. They may be celebrities in some arena in some cases, but they are also all volunteers doing something, in some arena, for the rest of us.

Among the History pages are insights into people who formed the first residents associations over 120 years ago, formed committees to raise funds to commence Manly Cottage Hospital, or set aside parks and reserves and began planting trees over 70 years ago.

Through thousands of other articles a celebration of great work and works such as saving dogs and cats, saving birds and bees, sharing knowledge, sharing fun, sharing photographs, and opportunities to get out there and do something in whatever interests you most have been our features. 

People who work as volunteers in Aged Care, Tourism, Sport, Settlement, Science, Peace, Justice, Education, Emergency Services,  Environment, Relationships and Family, Gender Equality, Health, Industry, Innovation, Disability, Community Welfare, the Arts and Communication, Animal Welfare are all around us. Everything from the lemonade stand run by 8 years olds to raise funds for social welfare or saving puppies or planting trees, to 70 year olds teaching 80 years olds how to use their new fangled phones can be found here. Even our local MP, Rob Stokes, can be found on the beach at Mona Vale each Season as a volunteer member of the Mona Vale SLSC.

In 2019 Volunteering Australia is celebrating 30 years of National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week, 20-26 May 2019, is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation's volunteers.

The theme for National Volunteer Week 2019 – “Making a world of difference”.

Volunteering Australia CEO Adrienne Picone said on Monday, “Australia’s volunteers provide a 450% return for every dollar invested. This is the equivalent of $290 billion in social and economic good. This unpaid workforce provides indispensable support to organisations and communities, and deserve recognition for the substantial social, economic and cultural contributions they make at local, national and global levels.”

Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week was the first collaborative attempt to promote volunteering nationally. It is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our community and to say thank you to the more than 6 million Australians who volunteer.

This week Volunteering Australia and the Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) released a report, ‘Volunteering and Settlement in Australia’, with a snapshot of the volunteering activities of new migrants and refugees in Australia. In the settlement sector, 65 per cent of new arrivals to Australia volunteered within the first 18 months of their arrival to Australia, to contribute to society, make friends, improve their English or gain local work experience.

SCoA CEO Tammy Wolffs noted, “Nearly one-third of all Australians are volunteers (31 per cent). It’s more than double within refugee and migrant communities, with our research indicating that more than two-thirds supported their communities through their volunteering work.”

In NSW, more than 2.1 million people volunteer, contributing a combined 240 million hours of their time each year. 

Those interviewed for individual Profiles run here all cite the friendships made and seeing the difference their contributions have made, whether it's seeing a tree grow or an arts carnival happen. 

Something that wasn't there before is now - something is about to or has taken place.

That old phrase clearly still holds true - 'The Gift is in the Giving'.

Giving makes you happy - Giving increases your social connectedness - Giving is even a way to look after your own health - The journal Health Psychology published a study in 2012 that found that people who regularly volunteer live longer. 

Whether it's getting out and helping pull weeds for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, sharing a cuppa or doing some shopping for a Senior, or taking them on a Mystery Tour, or getting yourself fit, Bronze, Silver and Gold Medallion fit, turning up to sew a bag, turning up to collect rubbish washed in by the tide, there is something you can do right here in any area that interests you.

Below runs a small snapshot of where you can get involved. The Contents page lists links to insights of where others have found their skills and passions can do something. These are the only 'stars' run in Pittwater Online News - and with so many yet to come, the firmament here is looking very bright.

This Issue we celebrate the great work done by volunteers in Restoring Sydney Freshwater Wetlands, near Careel Bay. The wetland area was overrun with weeds, but extensive planting of native plants has transformed it, so much so that when visited yesterday, Saturday May 25th, for the final bush regeneration day, a Buff Banded Rail was spotted - the first seen ever in that area. 

How's that for a result and affirmation of their work.

Something that wasn't there before is now.

These people have Made A World of Difference.

Pittwater Community Groups: 

Sports (plus Social Members)

Gardens and Environment

Rural Fire Brigades

Arts and Social
Rotary Club of Pittwater (now Rotary Club of the Upper Northern Beaches)

Buff-banded rail(Gallirallus philippensis) - photo by Toby Hudson