Celebrating volunteers

May 24, 2024 BY

A growing opportunity: Community House volunteer Ellen Schreyer has put her gardening skills to good use and continues to learn about growing vegetables. Photo: SANDRA JAMES

VOLUNTEERS were acknowledged during National Volunteer Week this week.

On Wednesday, community members were invited to wear orange for Wear Orange Wednesday to thank SES volunteers.

On Tuesday, Community House volunteers gathered for breakfast at The Watering Hole.

“Organisations around Heathcote could not survive without volunteers,” said community house executive officer Vicki Forde.

“We rely on them for so much and sometimes forget just how much they do. Together we are all stronger.”


After moving to Heathcote three and a half years ago, keen gardener Ellen Schreyer joined volunteers at the community house.

“I wanted to meet people and be part of the community,” she said.

“The gardens at the community house needed attention. Everyone was welcoming and helpful and I enjoyed it from the first day.

“I’ve learnt so much since I started here. I hadn’t grown vegetables before but now I can identify all the plants.

“The winter vegetables are all in now and it’s my aim to grow all the vegetables needed for the community house food relief.

“We always need more volunteers, or you can just come along and have a chat.”

Sharing and caring: Food Share volunteer Natt Craig loves to see people leave with a smile on their face. Photo: SANDRA JAMES


Sharing the Load

Natt Craig began volunteering at Heathcote Food Share four years ago.

“I really enjoy volunteering here,” said Ms Craig. “We have a happy group of volunteers, and all get along well together.

“The people who come in are always appreciative and it’s good to see them leave with a smile on their face.”

Heathcote Food Share is run completely by volunteers with proceeds from the op shop helping to provide services.

Ms Craig’s duties include sorting and pricing donated goods and serving customers.

“We need more volunteers, especially younger people as the community ages,” she said.

“Donations are always welcome, from things to stock the op shop to food items.”

If anyone would like to volunteer at Heathcote Food Share contact Glen Cullimore on 0411 158 071.


Imparting local knowledge: Nan Oates and Christine Griffiths enjoy the camaraderie of working at the Visitors Centre with service officer Jose Manga. Photo: SANDRA JAMES


Local wisdom

Volunteers are an integral part of Heathcote Visitors Centre.

The centre has two staff members employed by the City of Greater Bendigo and volunteers assist in welcoming visitors and showing them what Heathcote has to offer.

Nan Oates moved to Heathcote three years ago from Panton Hill where she was a CFA volunteer for 30 years.

“I love the camaraderie here between the staff and volunteers,” she said.

“It’s great to meet people passing through from different areas and it’s interesting to find you have things in common.”

Christine Griffiths has lived in Heathcote for 10 years after moving from Reservoir.

“I love meeting new people and telling them about what our area has to offer,” she said.

“And for me it has improved my communication skills. I was always a good listener and now I have learnt to talk to people as well.”

Visitors Centre services officer Jose Manga said the centre is lucky to have volunteers to impart local knowledge to visitors.

“We take our volunteers on trips to many of the attractions so they can see first hand what they are about.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to engage and train volunteers so we can promote the region.”


Celebrating volunteers: Volunteers from community house gathered at The Watering Hole for a Volunteer Week breakfast. Photo: SANDRA


Happy Buddies

Buddies Op Shop has been operating for more than twenty years and to long-time volunteers Nancy Mitchell and Faye Jenkins it’s a home away from home.

Both ladies volunteer three days each week.

“It’s my happy place,” said Ms Mitchell. “It’s good to get out of the house and do something.”

Ms Jenkins agrees. “It’s a break from the daily routine at home and I love it.”

“The company here is great and we have lots of laughs.”

The women help to sort donated goods in the shed at the rear of the op shop, serve on the counter on Thursdays and other days if needed.

“We meet lots of new people,” said Ms Mitchell, “Come and join our happy family.”

To volunteer or donate goods, call into the shop on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.


Best buddies: Volunteers at Buddies Op Shop, Faye Jenkins and Nacy Mitchell have become good friends through volunteering. Photo: SANDRA JAMES