Volunteering raises health
THERE are mental, physical, emotional even spiritual benefits, but it isn’t some mystery youth-giving elixir.
On the contrary what Bette Bonney is advocating is good old-fashioned volunteering.
The Warwick co-ordinator of the Volunteering Queensland Database is widely versed in the positive side-effects of “getting involved”.
And tomorrow she is taking the message to the Seniors Lifestyle Expo at Warwick’s Indoor Recreational Centre.
“There is well documented national and international research showing the health effects of people getting out and volunteering in their communities,” Ms Bonney said.
“It can connect you with your community and make you feel worthwhile.
“On the other side, bringing people with professional skills or experience into an organisation can make it a stronger body.”
The Rose City woman has been involved with setting up the Southern Downs arm of the Volunteering Queensland Database since March this year.
The website offers an online link between organisations in need of volunteers, as well as would-be volunteers keen to get involved.
“By using this database local organisations as well as individuals will be able to link up,” Ms Bonney said.
“The database will have the capacity to match people’s skills and interests to the needs of organisations and vice-versa.
“It will be a powerful way of linking people, who want to be involved with organisations that have specific needs.”
At least 14 local groups have already joined the database.
Ms Bonney said a significant number of people had also expressed interest in listing their details on the website.
“I think this database is an opportunity for organisations to start thinking beyond their own members when it comes to help or support,” she said.
“If your organisation is desperate to find a new president or a secretary, it doesn’t necessarily have to come from your initial membership base.
“They could well be volunteers on our database, skilled at running meetings or with lots of organisational ability, and keen to get involved in new areas.”
Ms Bonney listed the Warwick Animal Welfare Association as an example of a group keen to source new volunteers.
“WAWA has vacancies for official positions,” she said.
“And not every voluntary position means more meetings; there are roles and jobs that can be done from home.
“Or other people might simply be willing to help out at events.”
Sporting bodies and school parents and citizens groups were other organisations Ms Bonney felt could benefit through the database.
“All you might need is an extra pair of hands at the school fete or someone to help at the canteen,” she said.
“Warwick has always had an enviable reputation as a city with a strong volunteer movement.
“There are people out there willing to get involved and there are organisations in need of help.”
For more information see Ms Bonney at the Warwick Seniors Lifestyle Expo from Liam tomorrow at WIRAC or contact 0459 098612 or check out Volunteer Queensland