East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr John White is using National Volunteer Week, May 18 to 24, to reflect on the important role volunteers have played in the region over the past year.
“Volunteering is known to have health and wellbeing benefits. It helps people feel part of the community, can relieve stress, and gives people purpose.
“But this year we have seen people from all over Victoria and interstate donate their time in East Gippsland under very stressful circumstances,” Cr White said.
“All volunteers provide an important service and help improve the liveability of our communities, but I am very grateful to the volunteers who went outside their own community to support our local volunteers in the disaster response.
“Volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line and, rightly, should be recognised for their volunteerism. But so many other volunteers played a vital role supporting people in both in emergency relief and now in early recovery.
“Whether it is building farm fences, cleaning properties, preparing care packages or providing counselling, each volunteer has made a difference.”
Bushfire affected districts are using a community-led recovery model to move forward from the bushfires.
This will see volunteers play a crucial role in liaising with agencies and fellow residents to ensure recovery meets the needs of people living in that district.
East Gippsland has a similar rate of volunteerism to the Victorian average.
“Volunteers help make East Gippsland a great place to live. They run community events, sporting clubs, social and service clubs, fundraise for equipment and local organisations, and more.
“While volunteers don’t look for accolades, I would like to use National Volunteers Week to let all volunteers know they are seen and appreciated,” Cr White said.
Anyone looking to volunteer with a club or group can check the community directory