Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre recognises volunteers in time for National Volunteer Week

Neighbourhood Centre coordinator Kathryn (L) with volunteers Wendy, Tamara, Maureen, Carol and Marie. Photo: David Tune.

 

COFFS Harbour Neighbourhood Centre (CHNC) is a project run by Volunteering Coffs Harbour Inc that provides services and support to the whole community while prioritising individuals and groups who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and/or marginalised.

CHNC is co-located in the Coffs Harbour Community Village with other community services which is close to the centre of town making it easily accessible for service users and convenient to liaise and network with the other services.

The centre and the various programs and support services it provides depends almost entirely on volunteers and is recognising the contribution made by them in the lead up to National Volunteer Week (NVW) from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 May 2021, which will celebrate the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers.

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CHNC volunteers provide many free services for those in need, including access to computers and the internet, legal advice, tax help, translating and interpreter services, after school homework assistance (in association with The Smith Family), as well as providing pantry food to those in need and distributing reclaimed food collected by Oz Harvest.

News Of The Area asked some of the volunteers working at the centre why they chose to do so.

Wendy Johnstone said, “I have been retired for eight years now, and I thought I would like to be involved as a volunteer and give something back to society, and I find it very rewarding.”

Maureen Shaw works in the Volunteer Office which interviews prospective volunteers and matches them to suitable organisations in the community, and said, “I get a lot of reward and satisfaction out of helping people find a suitable match with an organisation they can volunteer with.”

CHNC Coordinator Marie Lo Cascio pointed out that, “We can’t survive without volunteers, and we find that many people come to us and volunteer, and then learn valuable skills and gain workplace experience that then helps them find paid employment, particularly younger people trying to find their first job.

“So we are always looking for more people to get involved.”

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4:30pm, to find out more or to volunteer call 02 6648 3660 or go to https://chnc.com.au/.

 

By David TUNE

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