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Revitalising remote communities

Volunteering is the key to a healthy and thriving society, according to Red Cross community development worker Emma Reed.

Friday June 3, 2016

Emma Reed - drumming up volunteers in the town of Tully

Emma is based in our tiny Tully office on the Cassowary Coast, where she works in partnership with the Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell communities to increase community participation and resilience.

At any one time she may be working on projects ranging from environmental challenges to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Her number one method of making a difference is by connecting people together - volunteers, local organisations, businesses and government.

She also helps volunteers to build on their skills, increasing their capacity to serve their communities. She's organised training so people can learn skills like first aid, grant writing, engaging audiences on social media, and she also held a going digital for seniors workshop.

"There's so many predictors of greater health, greater sense of self-worth, better mental health and greater wellbeing from volunteering," she says. "But for me it's really about that human connectedness … you meet people from different walks of life when you're volunteering and it fosters inclusion. It's not about the transaction as much, it's about building relationships and that support network.

"If you've got happier and healthier people in your community, then it's a stronger community in the end."