Spotlight on volunteers a real eye-opener

VOLUNTEERS are the backbone of a community and that is no different here in Port Augusta.

With The Transcontinental shining a light on local volunteer groups and individuals over the past three weeks, the importance of unpaid helpers has been highlighted time and time again.

There are a number of organisations such as Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Lifeline, Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul that help get individuals back on their feet, while local groups including Rotary and Lions aim to boost the community as a whole.

The selfless people behind the scenes at these organisations give up their time with the sole purpose of improving Port Augusta.

And volunteering is not limited to charitable organisations; the people behind the bar and in the kitchens of your local footy club are playing their role in keeping the town’s sporting scene strong and healthy.

There is no denying that Port Augusta has been clouded by negativity – and understandably so – in recent times, but there are plenty of good people doing their best to pick the city back up after a few too many setbacks.

Hundreds of people volunteered their time on Sunday April 30 at Parliament House to rally for a solar thermal power station, making a massive visual statement for Repower Port Augusta.

Each individual that attended played a minor role in a major project, showing that anyone can volunteer and all gestures – big or small – can help. 

Then there are cases like Melodie Watts, who has enough qualifications to get a top paid job in mental health, but prefers to dedicate three days of her week to Our House Port Augusta Inc. on a voluntary basis.

Having spent a Thursday with her at Our House, you could see the members were happy and comfortable at the club, with one telling me, “you’re part of a family here and it’s about being supported without being judged.”

The fact that Melodie is providing expert services to people who suffer from mental health issues purely out of the kindness of her heart could be saving lives in our community.

There are so many individuals, groups and organisations that go about their volunteering quietly, not wanting praise for what they do, but The Trans’ campaign has been a welcome reminder that communities cannot survive without ordinary people doing extraordinary things.