IT might be as simple as helping out at the school canteen or coaching weekend sport, but volunteering plays a huge part in the running of Bathurst, The Neighbourhood Centre executive officer Jean Fell says.
National Volunteer Week runs from May 21-27 and Ms Fell said it was a great opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the generous contribution of volunteers.
In Bathurst, 20.7 per cent (6877 people) of the city’s population regularly volunteer, data in the 2016 Census shows.
This is a higher population than the 18.1 per cent of people who volunteer in NSW, and the 19 per cent of people who volunteer across Australia.
“It’s one of those really great important elements that connect people to the community,” Ms Fell said.
“It’s important for people’s wellbeing that they feel connected.”
Ms Fell said volunteering allows people to share their skills and knowledge with others for the benefit of the wider community.
Not only does volunteering contribute to a person’s wellbeing, but she said it contributed to the economy.
It’s one of those really great important elements that connect people to the community.The Neighbourhood Centre executive officer Jean Fell
She said there was a return of around 450 per cent on every dollar invested, which is estimated to contribute $290 million to Australia economically and socially each year.
In a celebration of National Volunteer Week, The Neighbourhood Centre held an afternoon tea for its volunteers on Tuesday.
“We know that you give your very best on every occasion and you contribute greatly to positive change in the community,” Ms Fell told those who attended.
“Thank you for the love, time and passion that you put into volunteering, we appreciate it beyond words.”
So important is the role that volunteers play in Bathurst, that a representative from The Neighbourhood Centre regularly attends Bathurst Regional Council’s Welcome Wagon for new residents to the city.
“If people are new to town and want to get involved we can point them in the right direction of what volunteering opportunities are available or what’s going on in the community,” Ms Fell said.
Contact The Neighbourhood Centre on 6332 4866 or visit the office at 96 Russell Street.