Become a BCC volunteer

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.

Volunteers at BCC

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!

Byron Community Centre volunteering

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. 

Volunteer experiences 

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. 

Hooray for Volunteers Day!

By Sarah Webb

Hello readers and welcome again to yet another one of our posts highlighting the great things that happen here, not only for the community but for our community volunteers! And guess what? Last Monday (20th May) was our VOLUNTEERS DAY in celebration of National Volunteer Week and – of course – our amazing volunteers! And if you haven’t read it in the title, I will repeat it again HOORAY, readers, HOORAY FOR VOLUNTEERS DAY!

So, like EVERY VOLUNTEER I was invited and like every volunteer event, I had a jipper of a time! There was clothes swapping, the movie ‘nine to five’ featuring good ol’ DOLLY PARTON and nibbles after. I was there for the whole day and let’s just say it went OFF.

THE CLOTHES SWAP, oh my, the clothes swap! I had a ball and so did the rest of the volunteers who attended. SO, the concept was, you bring in a bunch of your old clothes and you leave with NEW CLOTHES which are other volunteers OLD CLOTHES which is; like your NEW best friend.

There were racks and racks of lovely garments waiting to go to their next owner and while everyone gabbed and giggled while trying on their next garment, I giggled away – dancing in my brilliant NEW shirt that I got for FREE. HOORAY! This event brought some serious joy to many volunteers and those who thought they weren’t going to find anything – guess what – THEY LEFT WITH ALMOST EVERYTHING. Well not THAT much stuff, but they left with a lot of brilliant new garments to show off while VOLUNTEERING YAY.

The movie was hilarious and as volunteers “work 9 – 5, a way to make a (happy) living”, we all joyfully sang along to the tunes of the movie and danced away. Not only was their singing and dancing; IT WAS A COSTUME SCREENING. Yep, we all dressed up in our BEST office attire and we rocked it!

Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, the party continued with Nibbles and yep, THOSE WENT DOWN WELL. It was a wonderful way to polish off VOLUNTEERS DAY and a wholeeeee plate of cake and if you have read our previous VOLUNTEER POSTS, OUR VOLUNTEERS LOVE CAKE, so THIS DAY WAS CONSIDERED A COMPLETE SUCCESS.

As Sweet as a Volunteer

BCC volunteers

By guest author Sarah Webb

It is not every day that one has the opportunity to assist in community mending projects, world-class cinematic events, nationally recognised festivals and renowned community markets and do this all while helping others.

Whether you are interested in helping your local community, meeting like-minded; community centred people, upgrading your skill set or are in search of a platform to express your talents, Byron Community Centre offers a range of volunteer opportunities to anyone wishing to make a difference in their community.

What is it like to volunteer at BCC you may ask? Well, let me tell you.

One may consider working life at BCC as refreshing. Imagine brushing up on skills as well as learning new ones in a completely diversely creative and culturally collective environment. This is all candied with the sweet aftertaste of “yes, I have helped the community.”

Not only does the sweet realisation that your efforts are making positive impacts on the lives of others accentuate the brilliance of volunteering, but the experience within itself is Just as rewarding.

Don’t just take my word for it, allow me to introduce you to two of our volunteers.

Without further ado, Meet Julie

Julie is one of our vibrant front desk reception volunteers. At 61, she effortlessly flatters the BCC with her contagious smile, bubbly personality, warm energy and infectious humour.

After one interaction, you’re bound to walk away with a giggle or two in restraints’.

When she was asked the question: “why do you like working here”, she joyfully responded (while making valiant attempts to harness her giddy grin) “I actually like, all the friendships I’ve made here. Feels like one big happy family, plus it also gives me a purpose in my life”.

Julie continues to inspire other BCC volunteers with her positive and bubbly outlook to life and let me tell you, working with her is a treat.

With a warm welcome let me introduce to you, Kristin

Kristin, one of our big-hearted community project volunteers, controllably sheds a few tears when discussing her role at the BCC.

Kristin spoke with passion about contributing positively to the lives of others. Her tone rang her sincerity true as she narrated the stories of the lives she has touched and the lives that have touched hers.

When asked the question: “how would you describe yourself?”, her response (once quietly reflected upon) was conceived in a very humble and collected manner, “someone that really values community and thinks every bodies story is important in the community, as I want to feel valued I want to make sure everyone else I interact with feels value too”.

Completely captivated by her response, I enthusiastically pressed for more intel. She described her three years of volunteering at BCC with the utmost compassion while looking back on her experiences with cheer: “Being at the community centre is the best place to be, so many different services to assist people.”

She then explains the importance of BCC’s community projects and how it has helped others in need: “Definitely, people living homeless are just so vulnerable and everybody should have the opportunity to have food and have a shower each day.”

Just being in a short distance of Kristin, I could feel the compassion she holds for her role at the BCC like a warm welcoming breeze in spring. Kristin says that she “loves volunteering” and will “continue to for as long as I can”.

Even though these introductions are short, they are definitely sweet. This is just a glimpse into the lives of our BCC volunteers. But, to truly understand the captivation of volunteering you may just have to taste it for yourself.

 

Cheers for Volunteers

Seniors lunch

by guest author Sarah Webb

We all love a good lunch – delicious salads, fine drinks and just to get even more extravagant; cakes (with cherries on top). But, we all really love a good lunch when it’s enjoyed with a good bunch of bubbly people (but wait, there’s more) while seated on the veranda which over-looks lively Byron Bay.

Last month was our volunteers and seniors lunch which was held to commemorate all the wonderful work our volunteers do for the community. As a fellow volunteer, I attended and may I say; I had a cracker of a time.

I left for my lunch break, expecting this lunch to only be a slight adaptation of my usual lunch-time regime, but boy; was I in for a surprise.

Greeted with drinks on arrival and a red carpet of giddy grins, I approached the scene of food and banter with a stomach full of excitement.  The spring breeze held the smell of the gourmet-style-salads and brushed it lightly upon my nose in a manner that can be considered nothing less than an incredibly warm welcome. The atmosphere was, in one word; Cheerful. Each seat was graced with a blissful smile and each table was full of humorous chatter (and a heap of food). it was very classy, especially when it came for speech time, then it got very glassy (tap, tap).

Pippy Wardell, our Volunteer hub coordinator, made a speech in respect of all the volunteers. Incredibly warming as it was, I had to pull out my laptop and get it down, word for word. She, engulfed by giggles (hers and ours), states: “fantastic work this year, without you nothing will happen. So blessed to work with every single one of you. I’m happy to come to work with people like you, because it makes work so enjoyable.” and with that and a few tears and cheers (note: she was trying to hide the fact that it was also her birthday, so… HAPPY BIRTHDAY PIP) we continued with our lunch and revelled in the greatness of being a volunteer and what we had all accomplished in the year (wooo).  

The smorgasbord of gourmet-style food was brought to us by the wonderful students of ETC. These skilled hospitality professionals in training (in my opinion, they will graduate with honours) have catered for the volunteers on many occasions, which I must say; is an absolute perk.

The BCC offers a training space for these skilled master chefs and in return? They. give. us. food. Yay.

See, a volunteer’s life is quite breezy. have a laugh, get cake. Well, there’s a fair bit more to it than that, but all I can say is, is that roasted pumpkin and feta salad sure makes volunteering taste even better.

Cheers for volunteers!