Danish by birth, Hanne Juul moved to Carlsruhe from Melbourne 21 years ago. The 70-year-old is one of hundreds of people who will be celebrated by Macedon Ranges council during its annual volunteers dinner this Tuesday. She tells Matt Crossman that becoming a volunteer was one of the best decisions she’s made.
Which community groups are you currently involved in?
I am the secretary for the Friends of Kyneton Museum, secretary of the Carlsruhe Landcare Group, newly appointed secretary of the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network, fundraising member for Carlsruhe CFA and co-ordinator of the Kyneton Antique and Vintage Fair.
I also volunteer at the Macedon Ranges Tourist Information Centre in Kyneton and about 18 months ago I was asked by a good friend of mine if I would come to Melbourne twice monthly to help out at Sacred Heart’s dining room in St Kilda.
How do you manage to fit so much in?
I was 65 when I started my career in volunteering. When I think about it, it looks like I am doing quite a lot, but the day has 24 hours. I try not to panic and have allocated certain hours in a day to do most of the secretarial work for three of the organisations. If there’s an executive meeting, it mostly happens at one of our wonderful cafes in Kyneton, and who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee or a delicious light lunch. I like people and after I retired, I thought to myself that if I didn’t get out of the house I would go crazy.
What do you get out of volunteering?
It keeps me young and active. I would hate to go stale in mind and body. I am very fond of all the people I am involved with and it is great fun.
What would your advice be to anyone who wants to help but doesn’t know where to start?
It can be hard if you have a full-time job and have to commute to work every day, but try a couple of hours over the weekend or even during the evening. I know of uni students who volunteer who get a lot of satisfaction in helping out where needed. There are so many organisations that need you.