The knowledge that she is contributing to an organisation that improves the lives of many is what keeps Carers Queensland stalwart volunteer Charlotte Pickering coming back for more.
Mrs Pickering has been volunteering with Carers Queensland for around a decade, doing everything from database entry to helping facilitate a monthly carer’s support group.
Mrs Pickering is a carer for her adult daughter but still manages to find the time to help others.
“I get more from going in there than they get from me,” Mrs Pickering said.
“It is an outlet for me and I meet with a lot of other carers who are doing it really tough.
“Carers Queensland does so much for carers and it is so rewarding to know I’m helping an organisation that has such an impact. I also get to meet lots of lovely people and the staff at our Maroochydore office are just so appreciative of what I do,” she said.
Mrs Pickering said the other benefit of volunteering was that it provided a way to maintain her computer skills since retiring.
Sunshine Coast Carers Queensland team leader for carer’s services, Kath Kelly said Mrs Pickering was an asset to the organisation.
“Her own lived experience as a carer really helps her empathise with other carers. She is a delight and keeps us all laughing when she comes in,” Ms Kelly said.
Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay thanked all volunteers for the valuable contribution they made to our community all year round, but specifically today (December 5) on International Volunteer Day.
“International Volunteer Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the enormous contribution volunteers make to our Sunshine Coast community,” Cr McKay said.
“Volunteering has many benefits for both the individual and the entire community. It helps people to feel better connected, to share their skills and experiences with others and to make friends,” she said.
Cr McKay said the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed that in 2016, 49,803 people (20.7%) aged over 15 from the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area volunteered for an organisation or group compared with 18.7% of people across Queensland.
“Not only is our volunteering rate higher than the state average but it has also increased 0.5% from 2011, which is really positive,” Cr McKay said.
“Creating more opportunities for people to get involved in their community through volunteering is a priority of our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 which provides the platform for how council, the community and other tiers of government will work together to achieve the vision of ‘together we thrive’.
Cr McKay said there were many ways people of all ages could get involved in volunteering and a good starting point was to check out council’s volunteering program.
“There truly is something for everyone with council’s program including opportunities to volunteer at your local library, at environmental education centres through our community nature conservation program and much, much more.
“We currently have more than 2,000 registered volunteers across our suite of programs,” she said.
To explore the range of volunteering opportunities both at Sunshine Coast Council and across other organisations, visit council’s home page, click on ‘living and community’ and navigate to volunteering: https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Volunteering