Shining a light on local volunteers

Karen Shugg (supplied).

Throughout the country this week, remarkable community members are being recognised for their volunteering as part of National Volunteer Week.

Closer to home, in the Macedon Ranges, council took the opportunity to shine a light on locals who have helped to shape the shire into the place it is today.

Mayor Annette Death said this year’s theme ‘something for everyone’ perfectly captured the essence of volunteering.

“There are a diverse range of volunteer opportunities available across our shire, catering to individuals from all walks of life,” she said.

“I encourage anyone with some spare time and a willingness to help to seek out local groups that might need a hand.

“On behalf of council, I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who currently participate in volunteer roles.

“Whether you’ve been involved for a short time or a long time, you all make such valuable contributions and a real difference to our community.”

Karen Shugg

Karen Shugg started volunteering at Galahad’s Animal Sanctuary in Gisborne in January, 2020, and says volunteering instils a profound sense of purpose and uplifts one’s outlook on life.

“I feel volunteering is a two-way street,” Ms Shugg said.

Her days at the sanctuary are filled with heart-warming interactions with a diverse array of animals, from sheep and cows, to chickens and even camels.

“This for me is just beautiful, to be able to hang out with these guys,” said.

Frank Singleton

Frabk Singleton is a dedicated member of the Romsey Country Fire Association (CFA), embodying the spirit of community service.

With more than three years of service under his belt, Mr Singleton said he finds fulfilment not only in times of crisis but in fostering a culture of safety within local schools.

“The motivation is … I would help someone if I was paid or not paid,” he said.

“It’s good to do something just for the fact that you can be a role model and an example for others in the community.”

Woodend SES

The Woodend SES is continuing to make a profound impact on the community, with dedicated individuals including Jane Crozier, Paul Riches, and Peter Burkhard.

Mr Riches is the group’s unit controller, and he oversees training, operations and community outreach, while managing the unit.

He said the rewards of volunteering extend beyond personal satisfaction to the tangible difference it makes in the lives of those they assist.

“[There is] enjoyment when people show their appreciation when they’re in a situation where they’re not able to help themselves and being able to resolve an issue for them on the day,” Mr Riches said.

“It can be personally rewarding as well as beneficial to others.”

Cassie Bailey

Cassie Bailey’s volunteer journey began alongside her partner, with The Kindness Collective in Kyneton.

Through its Foodbank, op-shop, drop-in space, soup kitchen and crisis relief initiatives, the Collective aims to provide essential support and assistance to community members in need.

Whether it’s assisting customers at the op-shop or engaging with visitors at the Foodbank, Ms Bailey cherishes the chance to make a positive impact on individuals’ lives.

“We support families that really need support, we’ve got a great team,” she said. “It’s something I enjoy doing.”

John Tohovitis

John Tohovitis has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the Riddells Creek Football Netball Club through his service within the community, dating back to the 1990s.

For Mr Tohovitis, volunteering at the club isn’t just about giving back, he said it’s about forging connections, fostering community spirit and providing a positive outlet for local youth.

“If you can contribute, it’s good personally and for the volunteering side of things,” he said.