Richards are happy helpers
WHEN hundreds of properties were flooded earlier this year, Christine and John Richards were among the many volunteers to assist in the huge clean-up effort.
Now, in National Volunteer Week, the Maryvale couple are urging other locals to take up the challenge and offer a hand of help to those in need.
“It is such a rewarding experience and we found it was really good to help make a difference,” Mrs Richards said.
“We volunteered for four days, cleaning debris from fences and fixing the fences that were ruined. We went to three different places around Warwick.”
It wasn't the first set of volunteering for Mrs Richards, who tutors at the TAFE campus two hours a week, helping the students in the special needs class.
Mr Richards said it was a rewarding experience for the pair.
“Some of the farmers didn't have any fencing left at all – the wires and posts were washed away with the water,” he said.
“For some of them it was a real morale booster. I think some were feeling it was such a big job they wouldn't know where to start. It would have been quite overwhelming for them.”
Living at Slade Campus during their time, the pair also met other like-minded people.
“It was a great atmosphere there. In our group it was mainly retirees and inter-state people. One was even over from Canada,” Mrs Richards said.
“We would work from 7am-2pm and after that we'd read and chat and share a few drinks in the evening.”
Southern Downs Regional Council volunteer co-ordinator, and a volunteer herself, Bette Bonney said the many hands had greatly helped the region's clean-up effort.
“It's been so encouraging for the landholders to actually have people coming in and assisting and giving them so much hope and encouragement,” she said.
“It's just phenomenal the effect the help of the volunteers has had.”
Mrs Bonney has helped put together a local volunteer base to help coordinate volunteer power when it is needed.
When the floods receded, she was able to help coordinate 200 volunteers where it was most needed with the help of BlazeAid and Landcare.
This National Volunteer's Week, she is encouraging as many people as possible to register their details online.
“If people went to the Volunteering Queensland website, there's a link where they can put their names in and we can be in touch through that,” she said.
“Alternatively they can contact me and I can send them the forms and volunteering guidelines via email.”
Mrs Bonney said one of the projects people can volunteer for is the Warwick 150th preparations.
Those wanting to register their interest can contact Bette Bonney on 0459 098 612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org