Each year, around 6 million Aussies spend time volunteering in their local community, contributing almost 600 million hours of unpaid community support in 2019 alone. We know we have some incredibly generous and giving people working with our Group.
So this National Volunteer Week we’re delighted to share some of their stories and celebrate their incredible efforts.
Protecting people during times of crises: Mick’s story
50km west of Melbourne lies the small farming area of Rowsley, where team member Mick acts as 2nd Lieutenant of Rowsley Fire Brigade.
As a Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteer since 2019, a big part of Mick’s role involves supporting crew training and providing primary firefighting coverage – both for bushfires and structural fires – for people living across Rowsley Valley and its surrounding areas. Being a rural brigade, Rowsley also work closely with other nearby Brigades to share insights and help protect each other’s communities.
Over the last two years, Mick’s proud to have seen Rowsley’s volunteer numbers double, and of the way the team have worked through various restrictions to safely keep up with required training and improve their member’s skillsets and qualifications.
Mick’s advice for anyone looking to volunteer locally is to “find something you are interested in and sign up! Consider things outside your comfort zone, as you may surprise yourself with what you can achieve.”
In 2021, our Community Programs provided the Rowsley crew with funding for a mobile app to improve information around and communications between crews during call outs.
Food for thought: Sue-Lynn’s story
For around five years, Sue-Lynn has been rolling up her sleeves (quite literally) to help prepare meals in FareShare’s charity kitchen.
As a not-for-profit organisation, FareShare rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and turns it into free, nutritious meals for people in need. These are then distributed to hundreds of frontline charities and groups supporting people in crisis – including via soup vans, homeless shelters, women’s refuges, school breakfast programs and other big groups like The Salvo’s.
From cutting vegetables to rolling sausage rolls and packing meals ready for delivery, Sue-Lynn is passionate about providing a sense of dignity and vital nutrition to vulnerable people – and is one of a team pumping out over 12,000 meals a day.
Sue-Lynn’s advice for anyone thinking about volunteering is that “spending time enriching your community is a great way to broaden your perceptions of the world. Individuals who have volunteered throughout their lifetime typically live longer and have better psychological well-being. In addition to the health benefits, volunteering gives people a sense of purpose. The fulfilling feeling of giving back and contributing to society is unparalleled.”
For the last few years, our Community Programs have provided Sue-Lynn and FareShare donations to deliver much needed meals to those in need across Melbourne.
From fire to rescue and everything in between: Brad’s story
In 2012, team member Brad joined the NSW Rural Fire Service's Appin Fire Brigade after relocating to the local area.
As the world's largest volunteer firefighting organisation, the NSW RFS provides community support during incidents including natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, planned hazard reduction exercises and a myriad of other things, including supporting other agencies.
Keen to learn more about firefighting duties and give back to his local community, Brad is now a Senior Deputy Captain and Training Officer – and is passionate about supporting people during their time of need, assisting with future preparation strategies and helping other NSW RFS members to learn, grow and become leaders.
Impressively, Brad also supports the NSW RFS Southern Highlands District as a Remote Area Operator and is an Aviation Rescue Crewman for the State Aviation Unit (one of only 45!) who assist with activities ranging from reconnaissance to re-supply and search and rescue (including during floods and fires).
Brad’s advice to anyone considering volunteering is: “If you have the time to give, then give it; you won’t regret it. When you enjoy doing something, it really does feel good to give back.”
In 2021, our Community Programs provided Brad and Appin Brigade funding to purchase materials and resources for their junior firefighter’s program, and equipment for a new fire truck.
Keeping healthy with community sports: Jodi’s story
You could say a love of sports runs deep for team member Jodi, who as well as supporting her family as players, has been Treasurer for the Pine Rivers Inline Hockey Club, also known locally as ‘the Dragons’, for almost two years now.
As a non-profit organisation, the Club provides opportunities for both children and adults to get involved in a community-based environment that encourages good wellbeing, teamwork, positive communication and inclusivity.
From managing budgets and grants appeals to organising equipment, competitions, workshops and fun days, Jodi is a driving force in fostering a warm and welcoming space for all Club players and families. She’s even dipped her toe into playing herself through a few introductory sessions, and can attest that it’s a very challenging and skilled sport to play!
Jodi’s advice to anyone considering volunteering is “Do it! My time and effort not only helps the Club continue to function and grow, but has led to new relationships and opportunities for personal growth and development.” Please join us in thanking Jodi for her incredible support!
In 2021, our community programs provided the Club with funding to support their operations and players.
Supporting our people with what matters most
Through our Community Programs, Jemena is proud to recognise and reward team members who volunteer outside of work with donations to their chosen causes - because to us, that’s what building caring, supportive and sustainable communities is all about.
Click here to learn more about working with us.