Victor Szwed

COVID has impacted the numbers of people who volunteer in communities right across Australia.

The Australian National University estimates that volunteer rates dropped from around 36% of adults in late 2019 to around 24% by April 2021 as COVID impacted. The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that volunteer rates had been gradually reducing over the preceding decade, however, COVID has impacted quite dramatically. Recent census data for Daylesford and Hepburn indicate that volunteerism has dropped by 23% since the 2016 census.

Volunteers perform many vital roles and there are numerous ways that you can assist as a volunteer.

Now that most adults have had between two and four COVID vaccinations, more people are getting out and about in the community and trying to live a more “normal” life. It is a good time to consider becoming a volunteer whether you did so in the past or might be interested as a new volunteer.

There are lots of volunteer roles out there if you are interested in helping the many worthwhile causes and community needs. If you are not ready to become a volunteer, there are also many community groups and activities you can participate in. For newer residents, these can help you to get to know your local community and make friends.

Social connectedness is important to our wellbeing and right across Hepburn Shire there are so many activities and so many people who are welcoming and interesting. Health research has consistently shown that social connectedness plays a vital role in our wellbeing and our ability to live enjoyable and productive lives no matter what your age.

The following is a list of some of the volunteer roles and interest groups in our Shire – and there are many more:

University of the Third Age; Lions; Friends of Groups such as Friends Of Cornish Hill; Angling Clubs; Rotary; Probus; Food support groups such as the Good Grub Club; CFA; SES; Church groups; Men’s Sheds; Land Care; Red Cross; Council Visitor Information Centres; Museums and Historical Societies; Neighbourhood Centres; Injured Wildlife Support; Agricultural Societies; Bowling Clubs; Gardening and Horticultural Groups. There are also exercise groups covering walking, Yoga, meditation and so on.

How do you find out about volunteering and interest groups? Well, start with the list of local organisations on the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre website:

If you live further afield, the Creswick, Clunes and Trentham communities also have web sites listing many organisations in their local areas. Contact details are provided for most.





Victor Szwed is a Daylesford resident who has volunteeed with various local community groups in various roles over the past two decades.