Volunteers at the heart of community

CLUB: Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser recently joined the Valentine Lions Club.
CLUB: Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser recently joined the Valentine Lions Club.

I recently joined my local Lions club at Valentine, and it made me reflect on the important role of volunteers and community groups in our city.

I'm yet to fully dive in and get my hands dirty with the club, however its members have been putting in countless hours and even years dedicating themselves to our community.

The Valentine Lions Club has clocked up 41 years' of service, which is an incredible achievement. And there are many community and volunteer groups that are rolling up their sleeves and helping out people across Lake Mac.

Can you even imagine the countless sausage sizzles, their work in supporting schools and the elderly, helping with health and medical research activities, the environment, and their efforts during disasters. It is impossible to put a dollar figure on the value these individuals and groups add to our communities. So, thank you to all our local volunteers - your efforts do not go unnoticed and we are so very grateful.

Each year, as part of the Lake Mac Awards we get the opportunity to celebrate some amazing people who dedicate their time and energy to help improve our community, including some volunteers.

These people and community groups often do their incredible work to the benefit of others without seeking reward or recognition, which is a wonderful human characteristic.

At the awards earlier in the year, we recognised Patricia Buttsworth as our volunteer of the year who has been voluntary treasurer of the Belmont branch of the United Hospitals Auxiliary for 18 years.

We also were able to recognise Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie, which is operated by 145 volunteer members who deal with more than 38,000 phone and radio calls, and assists with rescuing about 1500 swimmers, rock fisherman, kayakers, boaters and sailors each year.

I can't wait to get more involved with my club, but whether it's your local Lions club, through the Men's Shed, Probus, SES and rescue groups, a sporting club or the countless volunteer groups across our beautiful city, I encourage you to get involved.

Although I am a newbie to this volunteering space and the Lions club, I understand the role volunteers play in our community. I am looking forward to making many more connections with people in my community and helping where I can.

Cr Kay Fraser is Lake Macquarie mayor.