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Giving thanks to volunteers

Each month I stand back and take in the paper in progress to try to gauge how it is shaping up, and to decide if it needs a prod here or a push there to prepare it for our varied readership. Without any such workover, the focus of July’s edition of The Westsider has landed on those who do the most with the least in our community, our under-resourced armies of volunteers. All over the west and unseen by many of us, mum’s, dads, friends and neighbours are rolling up their sleeves and giving up their time to help the homeless, children in need, refugees, the disabled, animals, the environment, and a multitude of other local causes.

If you’re one of those people, The Westsider says “thank you”.

But the one barrier that prevents many of us getting involved is the awe factor that seems to be attached to volunteering. At a glance volunteers are haloed, virtuous souls, doing great unpaid work that most of us couldn’t imagine involving ourselves in. The truth is, there are no superheroes. Volunteers are just like you – average Joes and Janes who started small, just helping out, and then saw their role and commitment grow as they realised they could actually affect positive change. The only difference between those people and the rest of us is that they took that small first step.

So as you flick through this edition of The Westsider, spare a thought for those among us who are helping out right at the moment you are reading this line. Close your eyes and put yourself in their shoes, just for a minute or two. And if the shoes fit, why not wear them?

Derek Green
Managing Editor, The Westsider

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