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Beachmere Healthy and “Wealthy”

Research shows volunteering is great for your health and wellbeing and there are ample opportunities for volunteering in Beachmere.

According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census some nineteen percent of Australians aged over 15 years contribute to their community by volunteering. This volunteering can be through many different organisations, and for many different causes, but more and more studies are showing the benefits.

Other surveys conclude volunteers have less trouble sleeping, less anxiety, less feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, better friendships and better social networks and reveal that 68% of volunteers agree volunteering makes them feel physically healthier, 96% say that it makes people happier and 77% says it improves mental health.

Other benefits from volunteering include boosting self-esteem, improved connections to local community, meeting new people and making new friends, gaining new skills and knowledge and sometimes even boosting job and career prospects.

With discussion also prevalent about loneliness in today’s society, volunteering is also a great way to combat loneliness; either contributing as a volunteer or through being the recipient of a volunteer based program.

Beachmere has a wealth of volunteers and is rich in community “social capital” with Beachmere Assist and U3A Beachmere just two of the local programs utilising volunteers to run activities and promote community connectedness. Beachmere Community Disaster Management Team is another local group utilising the skills and knowledge of local volunteers to provide an important service to the local area.

All three of these local projects tick all the boxes when it comes to getting people involved, boosting self esteem, offering opportunities to meet new people, learn new skills and promote improvements to physical and mental health.

Beachmere U3A President, David Newell, says although U3A is new to Beachmere, locals have embraced the opportunities it provides, signing up for classes, joining in discussions over coffee and generally becoming more active and aware. “Volunteers are brushing up their knowledge or gaining new skills, meeting new people and taking on new interests,” he said, “there is definitely a “buzz” around Beachmere.”

Beachmere Area Network Group President Karen Harris agrees that volunteering is an important part of the local community. “Beachmere is rich in volunteer wealth, BANG uses volunteers across all its projects and activities from Fabulous Art Beachmere to Movie night and Community Carols. Beachmere Assist, our weekly drop-in coffee morning can only continue through the dedication of its volunteers to keep the program going. “

“We see volunteering as an important way to engage people in the community and to offer something back to the community. It’s proven that volunteers are often happier, healthier, have increased social interaction. It’s that sense of purpose, of having a goal and a reason… and it gives that person, and their community, a definite sense of connectedness.”

Beachmere also boasts a Community Bowls Club, Lioness and a Lions Club, a Men’s Shed, Fishing Club, a Football Club, a Mosaics Club, Indoor Bowls Club, Seniors meet ups and cards as well as Cubs and Scouts for the junior members of the Community.

If volunteering is good for mind and body health, Beachmere must be one of the “healthiest” communities around.

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