To all the volunteers in the Byron Shire – a huge THANK YOU!
Published on 21 May 2020
Activities to acknowledge National Volunteers Weeks have been curtailed because of COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped volunteers in the Byron Shire putting their hands up to help out.
Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the theme for 2020 National Volunteers Week, Changing Communities Changing Lives is so very true, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With so many businesses suddenly closing and owners and staff facing an uncertain future many people in our community suddenly found they needed help and that’s where our volunteers found ways to continue to offer their services, taking into account massive changes brought about by the new social distancing rules,” Mayor Richardson said.
“Volunteers are the beating heart of our community and on behalf of Byron Shire Council, I sincerely thank them for the work they do,” he said.
“In fact, as we all stop and take a breath because of COVID-19 people are looking for new ways to get involved in their communities and volunteering is the answer,” Mayor Richardson said.
Margaret Robertson, Byron Shire’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year, said volunteering has given her everything – pleasure, friendship and satisfaction.
“I was taught by my parents that being a part of a community meant helping out at the school, or the church, mowing lawns, doing odd jobs, or cooking for fundraisers – it was never talked about as something you needed to do – it was just something you did,” Margaret said.
“Like many people I was involved with my children’s school, and as they grew up, my volunteering changed depending on work and family commitments,” she said.
Margaret’s list of volunteering credentials is long. She is a founding Board member, Director and donor of the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, is on the Board of the Byron Regional Community College and is a member of the Sourdough organisation. She was an early volunteer at Byron Bay’s original soup kitchen, is the booking officer at the Marvell Hall, and also helps at the Byron Community Centre.
“At the moment I am working with other amazing people at Bangalow Lion Hearts, an organisation helping locals, and others further afield who are down on their luck.
“I have also found my knitting needles and am knitting beanies for rough sleepers.
“Volunteering has enriched my life in every way and if you are lonely or in need of some social interaction volunteering is a great solution and the benefits are immense,” Margaret said.
The Byron Community Centre has a volunteer hub that will match people with volunteer opportunities. For information go to https://byroncentre.com.au/byron-shire-volunteer-hub_/.
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