The Snowy Valleys has a big heart

Riding for the Disabled clients Paul Sergeant, John Osborne, Paula Kennedy, and Francis McCulloch, pictured here with Matey, are just four of the many people in the Snowy Valleys who benefit from our plentiful volunteers.

Notably more people participate in voluntary work in the Snowy Valleys than the NSW and Australian averages, data from the latest Census shows.

A full quarter of people in the Snowy Valleys said that they had done voluntary work in the past 12 months when filling out their census. That against not even one in five in NSW (18.1 per cent) and Australia (19.1 per cent).

It’s easy to be cynical in this era of constant negative news, but the next time you’re feeling a bit down about the world, consider this fact – over three million Australians volunteered their time, unpaid, to help others last year.

3,620,726, to be exact. Of those, 2,981 live in the Snowy Valleys.

When it comes to unpaid work assisting people with a disability, 11.6 per cent of Snowy Valleys residents said they had done so in the past two weeks, the exact same figure as NSW as a whole, and ever so slightly more than the Australian average of 11.3 per cent.

Far more women volunteer than men locally, with the most active age group getting out there and helping out being females aged 55-64.

They are followed by females aged 65-74, females aged 35-44, females aged 45-54, males aged 55-64, males aged 65-74, males aged 45-54, males aged 35-44, females aged 25-34, females aged 75-84, males aged 25-34, males aged 75-84, equal numbers of males and females aged 15-19, women aged 20-24, men aged 20-24, women over 80, and men over 80. In total, 28.6 per cent of all Snowy Valleys women are volunteers, compared to 22 per cent of Snowy Valleys men.

Riding Coach Margot Bulger, who heads Riding for the Disabled Tumut, entirely staffed by volunteers, said the figures were not surprising.

“I knew there was [a higher number of volunteers], because when I travel around to RDA centres, the country areas have much more of a volunteer base than the centres in the city areas, and they’re also better financially supported by their own communities,” she said.

“And isn’t it great for our region! Good on Tumut.

“Myself, I get a real sense of achievement because I’m helping make other people’s lives better. The main reason I started volunteering out here was because I love horses, and I’ve always had an affinity with people with disabilities. I get great enjoyment out of other people’s achievements and other people’s joy.”