REFLECTING on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on so many people prompted Devilbend Foundation secretary Jill McIver to ponder how they can recruit new volunteers for worthwhile projects.
This came during National Volunteer Week 17-24 March.
“We all had to deal with the restrictions in different ways and the after-effects of what we do next,” she said.
“After volunteering for over 25 years in various forms – children’s kindergarten, school, sports clubs, lifesaving and environmental groups – I’m calling on the next generation to step up!”
Ms McIver, who stepped down as secretary of Mornington Environment Association last October after four years as either president or secretary, found she did not have the time to spare while working full time.
“We all had to adjust our lifestyles to suit COVID-19 restrictions,” she said. “Exercise within a five kilometre radius was sometimes restrictive. Our comfort zones were very much confronted. I was lucky I did have various green spaces to visit and exercise as well as enjoy what we have in our own backyard.
“The importance of keeping our green wedge and open spaces protected is now even more highlighted. We have an ageing population that contributes considerable hours of volunteer labour that our local council would have to pay for otherwise it may not ever be done due to budget constraints.”
Ms McIvor is calling on the “younger generation” to help. “I am 63 and many of our volunteers are older than that and some can no longer do the work required to join a local group that needs your help,” she said.
“Volunteering also teaches our children to appreciate the importance of our environment and green spaces. We have many volunteers doing great work as well as teaching others about the history, Indigenous influence and ecological importance of keeping our environment safe.”
The Friends of Daagean Group which meets on the last Saturday of the month for two hours for weeding and planting is looking for volunteers. The Birdwatch and Water Watch groups may also interest volunteers, Ms McIver said.