Volunteers the backbone of our area

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When I look around my town and surrounding areas, I realise how very fortunate we are to have our health centre, St John, fire brigade, Meals on Wheels and many other community services. We also have wonderful amenities like the swimming pool, museum, rodeo and gymkhana grounds, new skate park, Simpson Park Complex and many more.

Add to this list the community, sporting and activity groups such as Lions, Mainly Music, garden and book clubs, and indoor bowls to name but a few.

The one common denominator in all these is they are run by volunteers. We wouldn’t have our health centre if volunteers in the community hadn’t stepped up to save it. We wouldn’t have the reassurance of a local ambulance and fire brigade, if it wasn’t for volunteers willing to give up their time — and quite often leave work — for a callout.

Swimming pools, sporting complexes, skate parks and golf clubhouses don’t just appear by magic. It takes hours of planning, fundraising, community support and a lot of commitment by volunteers to make these things happen.

These volunteers give of their free time willingly. They give up work hours, evenings and weekends that could be spent with family, and time that could be spent relaxing.

When you live in a small community, volunteering is a very important part of the infrastructure of a town. This was especially noticeable during the first Covid›19 lockdown, with people volunteering to contact those on their own daily, shop for residents who couldn’t leave home, and myriad other unseen jobs. I think this gave a lot of people in the community some sense of security that they weren’t alone at a very confusing time.

I also think volunteering is good for our mental health. In this era of Zoom meetings, working from home and an obsession with social media, it takes us back to the basics of caring for and interacting with people, and the world we live in.

Here in Lawrence, volunteering can be as simple as spending half a day helping tidy up walkways in the domain or committing 20 minutes a month delivering meals on wheels. If you enjoy a sport, why not take on a role within that group?

If you have just moved to the area, find something that may interest you and go along. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and to connect with what is going on within the community.

I know in the Lawrence/ Tuapeka area, groups and committees are grateful for new faces and ideas. So why not volunteer? Who knows, you may enjoy it!

Lawrence›Tuapeka Community Board member Lindy Chinnery