Give back to your community as a volunteer

Published on 02 January 2024

Bushcare volunteer, Rob Hitchen

Are you looking to give back to your community? We have many wonderful volunteer opportunities available in our local area.

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, use your skills, connect with your local community and make a real difference.

Rob Hitchen, from Vaucluse, has been a Bushcare volunteer for many years.

“When I was working full time I was too busy to do much volunteering, but after I retired in 2012, I had the time to try and make a small, but hopefully positive, contribution,” Rob said.

“A neighbour saw me weeding the nature strip and suggested I come along to a Bushcare group at Gap Park,” he said.

Rob now volunteers with Council’s Bushcare program at Gap Park and Parsley Bay each week. He says he enjoys the physical activity and spending time in the bush with other volunteers.

“It's been a great thrill to see rarely sighted native wildlife like the Powerful Owl and Brush Turkey, not to mention old Parsley Bay favourites like the Water Dragons and Freshwater Eels.

“If I had to choose one highlight, I would say it's having a swim and snorkel with fellow volunteers at Parsley Bay after Bushcare,” he said.

Rob also dedicates his time to our HarbourCare program, where he collects rubbish at local beaches and reports back to Council on what he finds.

“I go for a snorkel most afternoons and weekends, so it’s as easy as doing a quick scan for rubbish on the beach and in the water while I’m there,”.

On top of his environmental work, Rob also gives back to the local community by volunteering at the St Canice's soup kitchen, the Matthew Talbot Hostel, and Meals on Wheels at Holdsworth.

What’s Rob’s advice to others thinking about becoming a volunteer?

“Try it. I'm pretty sure you'll find it very relaxing and interesting, you'll learn a lot from people. It's satisfying knowing that in a small way you are helping improve the local natural environment and the lives of others”.

There are many local volunteering opportunities available if you’d like to get involved. In addition to Bushcare and HarbourCare, volunteers are an essential part of our libraries and Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. We’re also always looking for volunteers at our Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf.

You can volunteer as little or much of your time as you’d like. Volunteering is for everyone including students, retirees, mums and dads, or anyone who has a bit of spare time to offer.

Read more about volunteering opportunities in our local area.