Volunteers celebrated

Generous with their time: Barry and Anne Churches.

Rochester stalwart Bob Knight is among those highlighted as part of the Campaspe Murray Vibrant Volunteers Network volunteer week celebrations on Tuesday, May 24.

The network is starting a project called ‘My Volunteering Story’, an exhibition documenting the breadth and diversity of tasks undertaken by volunteers across the Campaspe Murray region.

Mr Knight’s story, which spans 65 years of volunteering, accompanies Kyabram couple Barry and Anne Churches, Murray River Tea Rooms volunteer Barbara Sands, and Tongala artist Murray Ross.

It also includes stories on Vision Australia volunteer Margaret Russell; youngster Nate Schubach; and Margaret Smerdon, who co-ordinates the popular Isobel Harvey vintage fashion exhibits in Kyabram.

Volunteer project co-ordinator Alma Limbrick said organisers had chosen a small group from the large amount of people in the local area who donated their enthusiasm, resources and expertise for the benefit of others.

“The project is a small way of expressing our appreciation to those who have been profiled,” she said.

“We are also highlighting the different ways people become involved in volunteering, the motivation behind their interest and most importantly, the personal rewards it can bring.”

Ms Limbrick said the volunteering sector had been significantly impacted by COVID-19, and in the wake of the pandemic there was much work to be done re-engaging former volunteers and recruiting newcomers.

“Everyone has a role to play in rebuilding our communities — particularly in rural areas — and volunteering is one way that almost anyone can make a tangible contribution,” she said.

“Whether it’s your local sporting group, healthcare organisation or service club to name just a few, there is always a place where your skills and knowledge will be valued.”

The launch of My Volunteering Story, to be held at Kyabram Town Hall, has been timed to coincide with National Volunteer Week, which runs from May 16 to 22.

Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual acknowledgement of volunteering and an opportunity to both celebrate and recognise the vital work of volunteers and say thank you. The theme for 2022 is ‘Better Together’.

My Volunteering Story opens at Kyabram Town Hall on Tuesday, May 24 at 11.30am.