Volunteering – Lots of Helping Hands
Volunteering is about optimism, perhaps idealism and a glimmer of hope about helping to make something better. Volunteers give unpaid help willingly, in the form of time, service or skills.
They believe that they are capable of creating change and making progress, whether large or small. At the same time, connections are made, to others, and the community. Volunteers are connected to the problem as well as the solution. Through their actions and involvement, they are benefitting others as well as themselves. Some volunteering takes place regularly; others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster, although they still put in a lot of voluntary hours behind the scenes in training.
Our volunteers have played a critical role in empowering individuals, in fostering active citizenship and in building our inclusive and resilient community so that we can all flourish.
Volunteering has a history. It has been influenced by our British origin as a penal colony, creating a unique relationship between the state and the volunteer corps of convicts and the police force. Volunteering has also been influenced over time by our first peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and their complex concepts of kinship, reciprocity and family obligations.
While we know that those in the 30/40s age bracket with dependent children undertake the most volunteer hours, with the ageing population, older volunteers are becoming increasingly important and valuable – not a burden, rather an asset.
Locally, our first volunteers could be considered as the Torquay Improvement Association (TIA) who formed in 1889 to look after and further the interests of Spring Creek (the name by which the town was referred to initially). Members of the TIA have volunteered many hours of hard work by way of physical labour, writing letters and sending delegates to converse with government officials. The vision and determination of these members certainly laid the foundation of what we have today in our seaside town.
They fought for postal services, sanitation, electricity, telephone services, policing and they paid for the community hall. Life-saving was brought to the attention of the Royal Humane Society who supplied a life buoy for the summer season in 1899. After World War 2 they ensured street lighting be restored, the barbed wire removed from the beach and steps at Rocky Point returned.
The TIA provided land for lease to the Torquay Scout Group. They petitioned the CFA unsuccessfully for a fire truck. Undaunted by the rejection, they set out as they had done so many times before to raise the money for an important community asset for the growing town. Their success enabled them to purchase a fire truck for the fire brigade. Other volunteer groups developed and benefited from the activities of the TIA.
OTHER VOLUNTEER GROUPS:
- Apex Torquay
- Torquay Rotary
- Friends of Taylor Park
- Jan Juc Coast Group
- Take A Breath Playgroup
- Torquay Fire Brigade, CFA (Country Fire Authority)
- Torquay Food Aid
- Torquay RSL
- Torquay SES, (State Emergency Service)
- Torquay Life Saving Club