Volunteering is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, pretty much the moment I landed in Sydney…but despite being near the top of my many to-do lists I never quite got round to it for a number of reasons..one being it’s simply difficult to know where to start.
As I continue to settle in Bondi but find my social circle predominantly in the Inner West Suburbs, the idea of having a volunteer group would not only help me meet new Bondi based folk but would feel like I’m actively contributing to my local community and feel well and truly a local … not just another Brit in the Eastern Suburbs.
A particular personal development podcast I listen to a lot continually mentions how rewarding it is when you contribute to your local community and whilst I’m still bandless and not doing a creative project to get those juices flowing, it was important for me to find some sort of volunteering project I could be involved in.
In this instance, Google Was Not My Friend. How hard could it be to find volunteer groups in Bondi? Especially ones, ideally, focused on animals and caring for awesome dogs where you basically can walk and play with them and give you the moon on a stick? It wasn’t easy. I kept searching and searching and really struggled to find any group where joining wasn’t ridiculously complicated or far away, until one day I saw a post on an oft frequented Facebook group Bondi Local Loop advertising Blu50.
I joined up and messaged a fair bit with the group but for some time we were unable to get diaries to align for a meaningful contribution.. That is, until recently, with this year’s Sculptures By The Sea had our next big event – helping out the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club.
Tamarama is beautiful. It’s also one of Australia’s most dangerous beaches thanks to its insane rips and I’ve given myself a couple of scares there in the past swimming in areas I’m just not experienced enough for.
As such, it needs to be frequently patrolled by experienced life guards who can ensure everyone’s safety, and the idea of helping them out felt like a no brainer.
The premise was simple – we had a BBQ selling sausage sizzlers and all funds went to the club.
It really was a brilliant time. Both my Saturday and Sunday afternoons were spent meeting some cool new people local to me, serve to thousands of local walkers, sunbathers and just have a general feeling of warmth inside.
Saturday was a bit chilly but we managed to keep going til the scheduled finish time. Sunday was hot and RAMMED. Queues were pretty far back and we ran out of bread..and then the heavens opened causing an early finish. No photos, annoyingly, as I was behind the BBQ doing my best not to poison anyone with my cooking. But the time really did fly and it was odd how easy and natural it felt the whole time serving up BBQ food constantly to total strangers.
People often discuss how there isn’t a truly altruistic deed. Volunteer and charity work will always have a selfish element in some way, shape or form and I’ll comfortable say there were selfish incentives here – meet more locals, feel good, have a project to focus on when my music is on hold and have a heightened feeling of worth for my community. If that helps people along the way, then what’s wrong with that?
I’m really, really glad I’ve got started on volunteering and hope to make it a more regular thing because it is well and truly fantastic for the soul.
I got to know the folk at the surf club and they said they’re always looking for new swimmers and life savers which got me thinking and considering. Whether I’m quite good enough to be a lifeguard I’m not sure, but the dream of being The Rock or Zac Efron is appealing.
It’s with this discussion that I realised Surf Life Saver Clubs like these aren’t actually funded by the government and it’s all volunteers…which blows my mind. A beach as dangerous as Tamarama really needs the best possible patrol and whilst they share the state supported life guards with Bondi, I’m not sure if that’s enough.
As such, should you feel the need to donate and show some support, you can here
And should you be interested in volunteering around Bondi you can here