Have you ever thought of becoming a volunteer? Well, this is your time to consider it! This is a segment on volunteering – which follows the journey of some of our volunteers, from start to finish. We find out what motivates them to volunteer with us, learn about their expectations, experiences and present to you their journey through the whole process.
So let me tell you a little bit about volunteering here at the Byron Community Centre. In the following story, you will learn about the ins and outs of volunteering – from the application process, the interview, the orientation and the actual volunteer experience of our volunteers.
The heart and centre of the Byron Community
Firstly, allow me to introduce you to the Byron Community Centre – the heart and centre of the Byron community. The BCC operates as a not-for-profit social enterprise. This means that we raise funds through our various enterprises and use a portion of these funds for projects and events that support our local community like the severe weather shelter or our weekly breakfast for vulnerable community members. Our enterprises include the Byron Theatre, the Byron Markets, Venue Hire and Meeting Room Hire.
The BCC employs key staff to oversee and run the different departments but relies on volunteers for a variety of day-to-day tasks. There is a wide range of wonderful volunteer opportunities at the Community Centre with roles in various areas like admin, finance, community projects, reception, markets, marketing, bar, box office and many more.
Be involved in something good and meet people
So why should you volunteer for the BCC? We asked some of our volunteers and the responses we received are diverse, multifaceted and personal. Most of our volunteers say that they want to gain valid work experience, they want to meet new people, learn new things about themselves, make new friends and give back to their community. Other motivations can include the desire to learn new skills, personal growth, student placement and become a part of the community.
Our volunteer coordinator Pippy Wardell, says she became a volunteer because she “wanted to be involved in something good and meet people”. Pippy started volunteering with us in 2010 and moved into a paid role when she became the volunteer hub coordinator two years later. Pippy still volunteers each week teaching yoga classes as part of our seniors’ activities. She says that she hopes that people get “enjoyment, fulfilment, happiness through volunteering”.
To get involved, all you need to do is apply.
We couldn’t agree more with Pippy. So let’s apply to become a volunteer for the Byron Community Centre. To show you how easy it is, we asked our fabulous new volunteer Pamela to share her application experience with us.
In order to volunteer with us you have to fill out our online application form – simply click on the blue hyperlink. Alternatively, visit the BCC during office hours (Mon – Fri 10am-4pm) and fill out a paper application.
The application is simple and personalised and aims to find the best information about you so that we can get you into the role that is suited to you. Once you’re done just hit submit! If you are applying in person simply hand the paper application to our friendly receptionist once you’re done.
Pamela our fresh front desk receptionist said it was pretty easy to use! Her exact words were “I found it, I did it, and all of it was easy”. Pamela is a wonderful new volunteer, currently training on our reception. She’s bright, bubbly and is excited for the journey ahead!
Once we receive your application one of our friendly Volunteer Hub workers will give you a call to arrange an interview.
And now you are ready for step 2 – The Interview!
Our interviews are conducted by our Volunteer Hub coordinator Pippy or one of her team members. The interviews are welcoming, inclusive and held in a friendly respectful manner! The Vol Hub team takes the time to really get to know you, understand your needs, wants and who you are. Our Volunteer Hub coordinator Pippy and her team want to find the best roles for you and to see you succeed!
Pippy says that “our interview style is more close” and says we are “offering volunteers the choice to do something they want to do” it “opens up a world of opportunities, for yourself for the community, for the organisation that you’re helping”.
The interviews take about 45 minutes to an hour and are held in a welcoming environment, where you can find out about the role you may want to volunteer in or the organisation you want to volunteer for. We have over 55 organisations that we interview for, so not JUST the BCC – our Volunteer Hub acts as a referral service for many organisations. So we can find out what best suits you and refer you to a suitable organisation in the Byron Shire. So not only do you have the choice of our positions in BCC but you have the choice of a huge range of other roles through a diverse amount of areas!
So don’t be shy, our interviews are very relaxed – Julie our wonderful warm receptionist started her journey with an interview with Pippy. She said “they made me feel relaxed” and said it was much different from any usual interview! She said, “ I felt welcome”. She felt nervous but “straight away – they said yes, we need you on reception”.
And now three years later, Julie is still happily on reception.
Step 3. The volunteer orientation.
Once you had your interview, you will be invited to an orientation. In our orientation we want to give you a short tour around the BCC building and introduce you to the different departments and teams. The orientation is done by one of our friendly volunteers and simply aims to give you an overview. It’s your chance to meet our team and to find out which department best suits you.
One of our volunteers who started off on student placement is Holly. Holly started student placement last year in our Theatre where she was mainly involved in marketing projects. She told us about her orientation and said: “Everybody was welcoming and friendly. The orientation covered every base, I didn’t have any questions at the end and felt very comfortable and welcomed into the centre”.
Once you’ve had your orientation, you’re ready to start volunteering. The number of days per week someone volunteers with us varies and depends on individual factors. The same is true for the duration of your volunteer period. Some of our volunteers are with us for years, some are only here for a few weeks. It’s best to discuss this in the interview phase so we can make sure we assign you to the right role.
But for now, let’s move on. We asked our volunteers about their volunteer experience with us. So let’s hear it from our volunteers.
We asked our volunteers about their experience with us. So let’s hear it from Pamela, Pippy, Julie and Holly who you met earlier and throughout the story.
Pamela who is currently volunteering at our reception, says she wanted to start volunteering “to open up my world to what else is going on out there”. When asked about her impression of volunteering with us, she said it was welcoming and supportive! Pamela enjoys the environment and says “I’d like to use the skills I got, and have a long ongoing relationship with the place and people here”.
Pippy our volunteer coordinator started as a volunteer herself, back in July 2010 and says she volunteered because “I wanted to be involved in something good and to meet people.” Pippy is now our Volunteer Hub coordinator and is passionate about volunteering and volunteers!
Julie is our peppy receptionist, she keeps volunteering because “I enjoy it”! Julie came to the Community Centre for “making new friends and getting new skills”. Julie says her motivation for volunteering was “about self-worth, I felt very fulfilled, it gave me confidence in myself and my abilities” and Julie believes that the whole experience has given her “more and more confidence”. She has developed lots of skills and feels confident in her ability to use her skills in her own life.
Holly, our wonderful Theatre volunteer started volunteering as part of student placement. She enjoyed it so much that she stayed on as a volunteer. Holly’s main motivation was to come in for her internship her motivation grew into something more and she found her calling. She said the experience “was everything I wanted and more”. Holly continues to volunteer for our Theatre and is involved in various marketing projects. She says the reason she stayed on was the “fact that I had such a great time”. “It was everything I wanted and more”. “I’ve learnt how to be a better communicator, better time management, getting tasks in on deadlines” and “in a broad sense, I have a more willingness to have a great sense of community”.
We hope you enjoyed reading about volunteering with the Byron Community Centre. The aim of this text is to demystify the application process and everything that’s involved. Thank you to our Volunteer Hub coordinator Pippy and our wonderful volunteers Pamela, Julie and Holly who kindly agreed to contribute to this story and to share their experience with us.