Contributing to your community

This week we have had two awesome events in our community that were organised solely by volunteers and were for the community. It really got me thinking about the importance of community events, belonging, and contributing to our communities and the effect this has on our wellbeing.

I have always been really passionate about community and making a contribution and I love being involved and volunteering. I think this comes from my awesome Grandparents and also my Dad. They were great contributors and really involved in community and set an excellent example for me. My Nen, Gwen Heinz even got an OAM for community service. So, I guess I’ve always been a contributor and get involved with things because I like to be part of something. I like to contribute and I get real joy out of being involved in organising things with other people and in working to create good outcomes for our community. Turns out this is actually really good for your wellbeing!

I’ve written before about how much I love our community and why I think community is so important, but involvement in community is also important for individuals and being involved with community is really good for your individual wellbeing.

There is so much to be gained from sharing experiences with others and from a sense of belonging and also from contributing.

According to Maslow, “humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others.[2] Many people become susceptible to lonelinesssocial anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure.”

Mind Health Connect also say Connecting with family and friends, volunteering, taking up a hobby or joining a group can help to reduce loneliness. Maintaining wellbeing has a positive effect on your ability to cope with everyday stresses. Feeling part of a community, and developing relationships, can contribute to improved health and wellbeing.

Last Friday we had a fashion parade where a group of local shops got together to showcase their goods and all the funds raised went to cervical cancer and last Saturday was the 10th annual “Red Carpet Evening” which is the major fundraiser for our Local Health Medical Trust which is responsible for our fantastic medical services in Barham.

Both these events were organised completely by volunteers and were all about doing good stuff in our community. I know it’s so much work for the volunteers but I bet they get a real buzz out of being involved with pulling off such great events and afterwards feel a real sense of achievement. I know myself with the volunteer stuff I’ve done, it just makes you feel good. It’s great to be part of something and to give something back.

So what are you part of? Are you involved in any community groups or organising committees? Small towns particularly always need volunteers, it’s what keeps them going. Getting involved in your community is not only good for the community but also for you! One of the first things we do when we are feeling a bit down is isolate ourselves so if that’s you then maybe force yourself to get out and surround yourself with people. Try volunteering with a local group that interests you or get a long and support a local event. You might be amazed how much it will help you as well as others!

I’d love to hear what groups your involved in or own personal experience of contributing and how it may have helped you too!