Volunteers share their experience

Ever wondered what it's like to be a volunteer? Our Waverley volunteers share their stories and experiences about the work they do in the community.

Whatever your interest or expertise is, there's a volunteer role to suit everyone. If you're interested in finding out about what opportunities are available in the Waverley LGA, see here.

Natasha: Waverley Cemetery


It’s been roughly a year since I first started volunteering at Waverley Cemetery after COVID-19 took hold in Australia. As a mum who works from home, I decided to start volunteering as a way to get out of the house and work in a beautiful space that’s just up the road from where I live. Working on garden upkeep at the Cemetery has given me the perfect mix of connecting with others as well as time to myself. For me, volunteering is a hobby that provides peace and calm. It’s also great to feel as though I’m being of service to my community.

Donna: Waverley Park Shared Garden


For the last 18 months or so I’ve been volunteering at the Waverley Park Shared Garden to help out with weeding, watering and planting. I decided to start volunteering as a way to meet other people in the community and learn more about gardening. The thing I like most about the job is getting to know other locals. Sometimes my dog, Billy, tags along and other volunteers bring theirs, so we’ve both made new friends out of the experience! My advice to anyone thinking about taking up a volunteer role is to stop thinking about it and start doing it. Find something you’re interested in and make contact. You’ll meet new people and probably really enjoy it!

Kaori: Bondi Story Room


I’m a newbie volunteer who has been working on the Bondi Story Room project since March 2021. The project is a new interactive space that’s being created as part of the Bondi Pavilion Restoration and Upgrade. The space will tell the many incredible stories of Bondi and in my role as a researcher, I get to learn more about this community’s colourful history and bring unheard stories to life. I decided to take on the role after completing a Diploma of Library and Information Services last year. It was the perfect way to utilise my skills and keep myself busy while looking for a job in the library sector. Since joining the team, I’ve had the chance to brush up on my research skills and collaborate with a brilliant group of volunteers which has been very stimulating. My advice to anyone thinking about volunteering is to jump right in! There’s immense satisfaction in giving back to your local community.

Lana: Waverley Community Garden


I’ve been a gardener all my life but became involved with the Waverley Community Garden about three years ago. Volunteering is part of who I am. I love giving back to society and teaching people about something I love. It’s a rewarding experience to be able to help others harvest fresh food that they can take home and enjoy. It’s certainly one of the reasons I love to garden myself. In the time that I’ve been volunteering, I’ve made beautiful like-minded friends who all pitch in and share the workload – especially when there’s an emergency like our frog pond leaking! It’s also great being outdoors and physically active. Volunteering means different things to different people. Whatever you do, you need to have a passion, otherwise you won’t enjoy it. My suggestion to anyone thinking about volunteering is to do something that makes you happy.

Gwen & Audrey: Waverley Community and Seniors Centre


We’ve been volunteering at the Waverley Community and Seniors Centre for a number of years. It’s a job that gives us the opportunity to keep ourselves active (both physically and mentally) and contribute to the wellbeing of older people in our community. Not everyone has family nearby and as one ages, loneliness and depression are some of our community’s biggest issues. 2020 was a particularly challenging year for us and so our focus in 2021 has been on revitalising our social activities, information sessions and outings to reconnect, live well and enjoy life. Being able to do something positive for our community is a very rewarding experience. Our advice for anyone thinking about volunteering is to work out what you’re interested in and contact Council to discuss opportunities. Don’t hesitate, just do it. You will assist in enriching the lives of others and enjoy yourself in the process

Joy: Justice of the Peace


It’s been 13 years since I first began volunteering as a Justice of the Peace (JP) at Waverley Council. I decided to take on the role as a way to help members of my community. My primary function as a JP is to witness a person making a statutory declaration or affidavit, and to certify copies of original documents. Outside of Council, I also volunteer with the local Historical Society and Waverley Community Seniors Association. Being a volunteer is such a worthwhile experience as you get to learn more about the place you live and the people who live within it.

2020 Volunteer Stories

May & Zoe (mum and daughter): Bushcare volunteers

We’ve been volunteering with Waverley Council’s Bronte Waterfall Bushcare Group for a number of years now. We decided to start volunteering because we wanted to spend more time outdoors and get to know our community. When I (May) first joined, my life was full of ups and downs because my son was really sick and we were always in and out of hospital. I needed something to get my mind out of the sadness and thought it was a good idea to talk to plants instead of doctors and nurses for a change. Volunteering has given us an opportunity to make new friends and discover new things. The tranquillity and challenge of doing something outside our comfort zone has been very rewarding. Our advice to people who are thinking about taking up volunteering is to just give it a go! Everyone is really kind and willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - it’s the way to learn something new.

Gregory: Friends of Waverley Cemetery volunteer

Since the inception of the Friends of Waverley Cemetery (FoWC) 21 years ago, I’ve been a member of the volunteer group and am one of five ‘Walking History’ tour guides. As a family historian and genealogist, my initial interest in joining the group was because of my own personal connection to the cemetery, with numerous members of my family being interred there. Volunteering at the cemetery is an absolute joy and my passion for the work would have me labelled as a taphophile – a lover of cemeteries. When people think about volunteering, their initial thought process is often about the ‘gift’ of giving. However, it’s not until you start ‘giving’ that you realise this isn’t the gift. It’s what you receive in return that’s the real gift. Whatever your skills, talents or passions are, there is a volunteer group in the Waverley LGA that will welcome you with open arms. If you’d be interested in joining FoWC, please contact me by emailing friendsofwaverleycemetery@gmail.com

Lucie: Seniors Centre volunteer

I’ve been volunteering at the Mill Hill Seniors Centre since 2016. In my role, I work to organise lunch for patrons attending fitness classes at the Centre every Tuesday. Volunteering has been an important part of my life for many years, even before I started working at the Centre. What I like most about my work is the conversations, the jokes and the laughs I share with the community. Everyone is so appreciative of the refreshments I prepare with Joy (our assistant volunteer). It’s an extremely rewarding job. I encourage anyone who has the time to give volunteering a go. You gain more than you give!

Lulu: Bushcare volunteer

It’s been roughly 13 years since I started volunteering with Waverley Council’s Diamond Bay Bushcare group. While I love the conversations and comradery with my other fellow volunteers, the thing I enjoy most about Bushcare is that it gives me the opportunity to spend a few precious hours a month with nature. I find the experience, no matter what task I’m doing, quite Zen-like yet energising. I’ve suffered with chronic pain for most of my life and the time I spend at Bushcare provides genuine pain relief, which is a really good motivator to keep doing it after all these years! Bushcare volunteering offers a great opportunity to connect with nature. I’ve come from a background which provided no relationship with the natural environment but through my time with the group, it’s become something that’s very important to me and I’ve learnt so much about our natural areas and how to look after them.

Miranda: Waverley Library volunteer

I’ve been volunteering as a tech help assistant at Waverley Library since April 2019. Although I’m not a super-user of digital devices, I’ve always been interested in the topic of digital inclusion, knowing that it has a great impact on social equality. With this in mind, I wanted to use my skills to help my community in closing the ‘digital gap’. Being a volunteer brings me so much joy. Taking up new challenges, meeting new people and helping others learn more about technology makes me feel proud and like I've accomplished something.

Julia: Art teacher volunteer

Since December last year, I’ve been running art workshops for children and young people in the Waverley Community Garden. I decided to start volunteering as a meaningful way to feel connected to my local community after a long stint living overseas. My favourite thing about the job is spending time in the garden, getting to know my neighbours and being blown away by the incomprehensible skills of 5 year olds. They draw like tiny Basquiat’s! For anyone considering a volunteer role, find something that you are excited about. If the role doesn’t exist, create it! Volunteering is so much more sustainable if you look forward to it every week.

Ian: Waverley Community Garden volunteer

I’ve been a member of the Waverley Community Garden for the last two years, taking care of my own plot in the garden as well as helping out in the public areas as well. The reason I decided to start volunteering was to learn more about gardening, which at the start I knew nothing about. I also thought it’d be a good way to meet more people from the local community. The thing I like most about volunteering is being out in the fresh air, getting to meet new people and working towards a common goal which makes people feel happy. For anyone wanting to feel more connected with their community, volunteering might be something for you.

Daz: Bushcare volunteer

It’s been nearly 14 years since I first started volunteering with Waverley Council’s Bushcare program. The reason I got started was simply because I like the Aussie bush (although if I had my own garden at home I probably wouldn’t look after it!). Hugh Bamford Reserve in North Bondi is a great place to do bushcare work because of the view. Watching whales go up and down the coast during morning tea is a fantastic sight to see. The thing I enjoy most about volunteering is the company of like-minded people. We chat about the different walks we’ve done and the different countries we’ve visited. If you’d like to get involved with bushcare I’d highly recommend it! It’s a great way to take a break from the business of life and relax in the beauty of nature that is the Aussie bush.

Madly: Waverley Library volunteer

I’ve been a tech support volunteer with Waverley Library since November 2019. With some free time on my hands, I decided that this was a great way to help members of my local community. The thing I like most about my role is helping people feel more confident and positive about their abilities. After moving from France to live in Australia as an adult, volunteering in my local community has given me a stronger sense of belonging. My advice for anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer is to not overthink it! Have a chat with Waverley Council’s volunteer coordinator to better understand what opportunities are available and how you can get involved. It’s a great way to meet new people, share what you know and learn new things. Giving back feels great.

Marion: Waverley Park Shared Garden volunteer

I am the primary contact for the Waverley Park Shared Garden, having been a volunteer here since 2017 when the opportunity came up to reactivate the area. I decided to start volunteering to strengthen my social networks after moving here from Canberra. Volunteering has been such a rewarding experience that has given me the chance to connect with my community. I strongly encourage other residents to give it a go.

Debbie: Justice of the Peace volunteer

My volunteer role at Waverley Council is as a Justice of the Peace for the NSW Government. I decided to start volunteering two years ago as a way to get involved in my local community and meet new people. The thing I like most about the role is creating connections with the community and helping others where I can. My advice for anyone thinking about volunteering is to just go for it!