Blue Mountains volunteers give more than most
More than 1400 volunteers contributed nearly 13,000 hours to Council-managed activities in 2019/2020.
Volunteers make our communities better by giving their time and skills freely for the benefit of others, and Blue Mountains residents give more than most. In the 2016 Census, more than 25% of the Blue Mountains population reported doing some form of voluntary work, compared with 16.7% for Greater Sydney.
Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “The Blue Mountains is incredibly fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers and a number of Council programs could not be provided without the generous support of volunteers.
“Volunteers contribute immeasurably to our community and their efforts are felt everywhere across our City – from the weekend sports fields, to our vibrant cultural spaces, and deep within our world heritage listed wilderness. Some support people in their time of need, while others preserve our unique heritage.
“However you choose to give your time and expertise, we thank you. Your generosity and altruism makes the Blue Mountains a better place for all of us to live, work and visit."
Council offers a wide variety of volunteering opportunities in diverse fields including arts and culture, community services and natural environment, through groups including Bushcare, Remote Bushcare, Swampcare, Landcare, Trackcare, Bush Backyards Network and Blue Mountains Graffiti Alliance.
There are also volunteer programs at Council facilities including Braemar Gallery, Blue Mountains Theatre and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.
Council provides training and support for our volunteers to ensure they have the skills and confidence to safely perform their chosen roles.
During 2019-2020, Council provided free training for community volunteers to support their work with not-for-profit organisations, such as Neighbourhood Centres and homelessness support services, and to enhance their skills in working with vulnerable people in our community.
“Council recognises the contributions of our volunteers through special events and access,” Chief Executive Officer Dr Rosemary Dillon said. “Our Cultural Centre volunteers receive invitations to public programs such as artist talks and performances, as well as programs specifically for our volunteer team including preview openings. Council normally hosts an Annual Bushcare Picnic to celebrate the hardworking Bushcare volunteers. Unfortunately this year’s event was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions".
As a small gesture of gratitude, Council provided free family swim passes to volunteers who assisted with bushfire operations in the Blue Mountains in 2019-2020. This was Council’s way of saying thank you to the NSW Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers for their extraordinary work in keeping our community safe during the unprecedented bush fire season. The passes were able to be used at any of the Blue Mountains Leisure Centres.
“Volunteers also experience personal benefits including being part of a team, gaining new skills and experiences, making new friends, having fun and connecting with like-minded people. Best of all, volunteers enjoy satisfaction in the knowledge their volunteering really does make a difference,” Mayor Greenhill said.
To learn more about volunteering with Blue Mountains City Council go to: https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/envirovolunteers.
The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is currently calling for veggie garden volunteers.
Go to http://bluemountainsculturalcentre.com.au/be-involved/volunteers/ for more information.
Photo: Working in the roof top vegetable garden at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.