As part of National Volunteer Week, Hills Shire volunteers gathered at Council’s Chambers last night, Thursday 12 May, for an evening of celebration in recognition of their hard-work and tireless commitment to making The Hills a great place to live.
Among the volunteers recognised were are a number of long-serving volunteers including Dawn Matthews who was recognised with a Gold Award for 25 years of service and Barbara Stewart The Hills longest serving volunteer who received a Gold Award for 30 years of service.
Mayor of The Hills Shire Dr Michelle Byrne said The Hills is fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.
“Without the support of these volunteers many of our programs and services would suffer and in some cases would not be able to operate at all. On average Hills volunteers have held 3 separate volunteer positions each, this is an incredible statistic.” Mayor Byrne said.
The recognition evening also featured the unveiling of Council’s enhanced volunteer training program which offers greater opportunities, better recognition and more training for current and new volunteers, with the aim to grow volunteerism across The Hills Shire.
“The Hills already has high levels of volunteerism and I think that’s an excellent barometer of community engagement. The aim of our new program is to maintain this high level of engagement as our population grows and our demographics change,” she said.
“Not only do we want to see growth in the number of volunteers involved Council initiatives, we also want to support the increased participation of volunteers in external organisations like Girl Guides, Rotary, Hills Relay for Life, Inner Wheel and community sporting clubs.”
The new volunteering program has already expanded its training opportunities and has also committed to annual stream planning sessions for volunteers as well as twice-yearly networking forums where volunteers can cross tiers and find out more about the different opportunities available to them.
“The focus of our volunteer program is going to shift to centre on upskilling our volunteers through training and listening to our volunteers. We believe that by investing in the development of our volunteers and ensuring their voices are heard, volunteering experiences will be enriched,” she said.
Mayor Byrne said Council is encouraging those interested in volunteering to consider taking up the volunteer mantel under the revitalised program, which places a strong emphasis on the experience and enjoyment of Hills volunteers.
“We want our volunteers to be proud of their role and proud of the Hills. We want our volunteers to be ambassadors for our Shire,” she said.
“I look forward to consulting with our many dedicated volunteers about ways to constantly improve our volunteer program for our residents.”
“On behalf of The Hills Shire Council I would like to congratulate our volunteers for their commitment to our community. Without our volunteers The Hills would not be the beautiful, vibrant place it is today.”