Connecting with community the way we did in the past is harder than it once was. Reaching out to groups to say you want to volunteer is easier, if you can have a little help.
Doing it differently
We all thought if we could just get through 2020 and adapt to the tightening and easing of COVID restrictions in our lives, some kind of COVID normal would kick in – and it probably has. It’s just that living with that on a day to day basis is not as easy or familiar as we might expect. Everyday routines aren’t really routine. We have to keep adapting or double checking what we are doing. These problems aren't unique to our home lives. In fact, they are impacting on how people volunteer as well.
For community groups this really takes a toll.
Constantly ensuring that community activities are COVID-safe creates extra work and makes it hard for community groups (involving volunteers) to roll out their activities. For group's, COVID has disrupted direction and outcomes because group's have to keep tweaking them. It disrupts dynamics on the committee and among volunteers. It adds to the risk of mis-communication (which in turn adds to dynamics) and the pressure of adapting how you roll out activities becomes fatiguing.
If that is how you feel – or groups you are involved in feel – you aren’t alone.
One in three people who volunteered prior to COVID, no longer volunteer. Nationally, Volunteer Australia estimate that this translates into a loss of 12.2 million hours a week.
Here in Clunes, we might not be talking about millions of hours a week, but many community groups are definitely talking about reduced capacity. On the flip side, people keen to reconnect with the community and get involved are reaching out and groups don’t necessarily know how to take advantage of that. All the ‘jobs’ community groups used to need filled are often up in the air, and it seems hard to welcome a new volunteer into the fold when you don’t know what you are welcoming them into.
Fortunately in Clunes we aren’t shy about tackling challenges differently. At Clunes Neighbourhood House we’ve now worked with other groups to come up with two new ways for people to connect with community - and the key to both is providing a welcome introduction.
Meet people at our Open BBQ, free the first friday of each month
Register your skills and we'll help introduce you to groups looking for volunteers
If you are looking to connect, or volunteer, why not give either of these options a try?
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort.