Volunteer shortage in our growing region should be addressed

WHEN the going gets tough, we hope we have support we can turn to.

NSW State Emergency Service Tamworth unit

NSW State Emergency Service Tamworth unit

But there’s few feelings more hopeless then looking for a hand up and clutching at air.

People are more happy than ever to brag about how “time-poor” they are, but they’re probably a lot richer than they want people to think and they might even be able to afford to give a little away.

Children coming through high school are encouraged to elect subjects that will potentially steer them toward their desired career, that’s hopefully prosperous in lots of ways.

While we’re urged from a young age to seek and obtain gainful employment, there’s little emphasis on what can be gained from volunteering.

Tamworth’s State Emergency Service (SES) unit says it needs to double the number of volunteers it can call on when emergency strikes the region.

“People come up with all sorts of excuses for why they can’t volunteer,” acting unit controller Ann Bartimote said.

“But it’s the people who put up their hand who have a chance to make a difference in the town.”

Ms Bartimote said Tamworth is growing, but the growth is not commensurate with volunteering numbers.

The acting unit controller said there was a great reward in helping those who can’t help themselves.

While the service’s volunteers are willing to leap to our aid, in our hour of need, it’s worrying to hear how stretched their resources are in Tamworth.

It’s been a wild summer, at times, with some fierce storms shaking up the town.

We heard how crews continued clean-ups through until sunrise, following the heavy storm that lashed East Tamworth in early December.

But the volunteering spirit is alive in some parts of the region.

The Youthie in Coledale has sparked a promising initiative, offering volunteer opportunities as part of its summer holiday program.

Organisers say the kids are very keen to give some of their time over the holidays and we should applaud the children and the youth workers for their initiative.

While we call on volunteers to help us out when we’re in a bind, it’s now our turn to think about what we can give back and offer them a helping hand.