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!