Saluting our volunteers

Eden Visitor Information Centre manager Shannon Woloshyn (left) is among those saluting the work of local volunteers, including Fran Crispin (centre) and Jennifer Shuwalow.

Eden Visitor Information Centre manager Shannon Woloshyn (left) is among those saluting the work of local volunteers, including Fran Crispin (centre) and Jennifer Shuwalow.

National Volunteer Week is now in full swing, with organisations across the Far South Coast saluting the work of those who generously donate their time to support essential services.

Among them is one of Eden’s increasingly important community services, the Eden Visitor Information Centre, which is urging you to get involved and help promote the town to the ever-growing number of tourists visiting the town.

The Centre is the first port of call for many visitors to Eden, with volunteers attending to an average of 140 visitors each day.

Centre manager Shannon Woloshyn believes there is no better place to donate your time and to help play a part in securing the future of the town.

“The centre plays an integral role in promoting local businesses and encouraging visitors to explore and return to Eden,” Ms Woloshyn said.

“Our volunteers are extremely hard working and talented.

“Their passion for the area is undeniable and because of their dedication, we are known for being an extremely friendly and knowledgeable Visitor Centre.

“Their enthusiasm and knowledge has also won the Centre many tourism and volunteer awards in the past.”

With the Centre operating from 9am-5pm, seven days per week with only one paid staff member, those who generously give their time are imperative to keeping the Centre up and running.

Volunteers are needed for a total of 106 hours each week, and while your work doesn’t come with a pay cheque, Ms Woloshyn says volunteers are well-rewarded for their efforts.

“In the past two months alone, we have visited Potoroo Palace and received a private tour and catered lunch from their restaurant,” she said.

We had a day trip to Mallacoota and received a town tour, visited the War Memorial Museum and were treated to lunch, and just last week we were spoiled again at Mandeni where volunteers got to play golf, try archery and check out the Bettong breeding program at the park.

“Early next month we are having a day trip to Bombala, where we will be bussed down by Sapphire Coast Tourism and shown around to all the sites.

“These are just a few of the perks of being a volunteer at EVIC.”

A number of region- and state-wide organisations also extended their thanks to volunteers from the local area, including the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) and NSW Rural Fire Service.

SNSWLHD enlists the help of around 650 volunteers, who perform a wide variety of roles including auxiliary workers, tai chi and exercise leaders, support for oncology patients, spiritual and pastoral care, running kiosks and stalls, the Pink Ladies (and men), general hospital activities, serving on community consultative committees or as consumer representatives, transport drivers, general administrators and caring for people with dementia.

The organisation’s CEO, Max Alexander, said the celebration offers the chance to recognise the contributions of those who are generally happy to fly under the radar.

“Volunteers are a precious resource and one which we in the Local Health District could not do without,” Dr Alexander said.

“It’s fitting that our volunteers be publicly recognised for their dedication, passion and skill. 

“They embody the best qualities in our community, and they’re a role model for others.

“Volunteers of all ages enjoy benefits to their self-esteem and their health, as well as knowing that they have made a difference to the health and wellbeing of others; they are to be commended.”

RFS Superintendent John Cullen, team manager for the Far South Coast Team, has also extended his gratitude to all the volunteers in the region who give so much of their time and energy to protect the community.

More than 70,000 RFS volunteers across NSW responded to more than 6600 bush, grass and scrub fires during the busiest fire season in more than a decade, from August 2013 to March 2014.

The Animal Welfare League NSW is another organisation on the lookout for extra hands.

Far South Coast branch president Deborah Cox said the support and help of the local community is vital in helping to continue services including the surrender and adoption of animals, and assistance with desexing and emergency vet bills.

“We’ve managed to find many new homes for our local pets, helping a lot of families and their animals,” she said.

“We can’t do this without the support of people in our community, and we hope people on the Far South Coast will do what they can to help.

“We’re in this together; the safety and welfare of our pets affects our whole community.”

If you would like to volunteer for any of these organisations, please contact them on the following details:

- Eden Visitor Information Centre: 6496 1953 or info@visiteden.com.au

- Southern NSW Local Health District: consumerfeedback@gsahs.health.nsw.gov.au

- NSW Rural Fire Service: 1800 679 737 or volunteer@rfs.nsw.gov.au

- Animal Welfare League NSW: 0400 372 609 or awlfsc@bigpond.com

And don't forget last week's Volunteer Week preview, which tells the story of many other worthy organisations around Eden who are looking for your help.

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