Close to 200 volunteers from across the region this week were recognised for their extraordinary service during the Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Volunteer Years of Service morning tea at the Armitage Centre.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council was thankful for the ongoing service of every volunteer and felt it was timely to offer public recognition for groups and people who had reached special milestones.
“Volunteers are highly regarded across Council for the friendly and personal assistance they add to our services and events,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Volunteers are the backbone of our community and, without the support and generosity of our volunteers, Council would not be able to provide the same depth of services to our community.
“Council appreciates the enthusiasm our volunteers display and regards them as a vital part of the organisation and the community they serve.”
TRC Deputy Mayor Cr Carol Taylor said volunteers from Hampton, Highfields, Crows Nest, Kulpi, Brookstead, Millmerran, Pittsworth, Goombungee, Oakey, Clifton, Toowoomba and Cambooya were in attendance.
“This event is an opportunity to thank the 600 volunteers who give their time and energy to Council volunteer programs and make a positive and extensive contribution to our community,” Cr Taylor said at the presentation.
Well known Pittsworth identity Penny McKinlay and Toowoomba’s Bill Hills OAM were recognised for 45 years of volunteer service – Penny for her work on the Pittsworth Gardens and Bill for his position on the Toowoomba Anzac Day and Australia Day Committees.
“Volunteers from Brookstead Park, Kulpi Town Care, Crows Nest Regional Art Gallery and the Pittsworth Pioneer Historical Village were among volunteers presented with awards for their service,” Cr Taylor said.
“Council also recognised the valuable contribution made by members of our Anzac and Australia Day committees and library volunteers from Toowoomba and Highfields.”
Cr Taylor said across our region, volunteers supported and enhanced services at Visitor Information Centres, the Empire Theatres, museums, art galleries, parks, libraries and many other community groups.
“Council also receives valuable input and direction from numerous advisory groups, including the Regional Access and Disability Advisory Committee, the Heritage Advisory Committee, Regional Active and Public Transport Advisory Committee, Regional Arts Development Fund Advisory Committee (RADF), Regional Youth Advisory Committee, Toowoomba Airport Advisory Committee and the Toowoomba Region Pest Management Advisory Committee,” Cr Taylor explained.
“We also work in close partnership with numerous volunteer groups across the region including Landcare, bush care and SES groups, in association with our Disaster Management coordinator.”
Cr Taylor said Council relied on the dependable service of volunteers, many of whom had been in their roles for extended periods, to keep events and facilities functioning smoothly.
“This event was a wonderful opportunity to stop and reflect on just how significant these milestones really are – to give five to 45 years of service in a voluntary role is truly extraordinary,” Cr Taylor said.
“Across our region our volunteers give back to the community year after year, for the common good and without financial gain – volunteers have the best interests of the community at heart and are an indispensable part of our operations.”
TRC Volunteering Statistics
• Hampton Visitor Information Centre volunteers clock up 2876 hours per year – that’s two volunteers per day minus Christmas Day and Good Friday.
• The larger Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre volunteers contribute just under 10,000 hours per year – that equates to five full time workers.
• Toowoomba Art Gallery volunteers contribute a total of 2,100 hours per year.
• Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers volunteers contribute 600 hours over Carnival.
• Friends of the Empire Theatre - total current membership is 372. In the 2016/17 Financial Year, the Friends provided 4800 sandwiches for the Citizenship Ceremonies. They also prepared 28,150 biscuits, cakes and slices for the theatre.
Caption: Deputy Mayor Cr Carol Taylor congratulates Crows Nest Australia Day committee chair Paul Fleming for the group’s work organising the national day festivities at the volunteer years of service function.