I was interested to read in a recent edition of Company Director magazine, an article in which the new Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission, Sue Woodward, reflected (amongst other things) on the recent decline of volunteering across Australia. The data shows that between 2018 and 2021 in Australia, 596,000 volunteers were “lost”, prompting the Federal Government to initiate a National Strategy for Volunteering in order to address the lack of volunteers across the country. In not-for-profit organisations such as Lowther Hall, volunteers are part of the fabric of the community. We seek to foster a habit of volunteering within our girls as a tangible way through which they can put the school motto, non nobis solum into action. Programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, which every Year 9 student at Lowther Hall undertakes, provide structured pathways into volunteering and community service. In the coming weeks, members of the Senior School Social Justice Committee will also have an opportunity to volunteer through a local charity, Meals with Impact, to create culturally informed meals for those in need. These hands on experiences of volunteering can lay the foundation for a lifetime of service and allow our students to continue contributing to the communities they are part of in their adult lives – a way in which we seek to make the world a better place because Lowther girls are in it!

As a not-for-profit company, our school also relies on volunteers to fulfil various roles across our own community. The Lowther Hall School Board, for example, is a group of volunteers who give their time and their expertise for many hours each month in service of the organisation, providing sound governance and guidance as they oversee the strategic work of the School. Similarly, the many parents who serve on Board sub-committees such as the Foundation Board, Assets Finance and Risk Committee or Parents and Friends’ Association Committee, volunteer their time and effort to contribute to the flourishing of our community. Parents who volunteer to create costumes for productions or supervise at the Perceptual Motor Program in Blinkbonnie House allow us to deliver experiences for the girls which would otherwise not be possible. Volunteering builds community and strengthens connections. It provides a sense of purpose and promotes the wellbeing and personal satisfaction that comes from putting others at the centre for a period of time. I am so grateful that we continue to have so many parents and caregivers who are prepared to volunteer within our school community and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all that they do. For those who haven’t dipped their toes in the volunteering water yet, I encourage you to do so. We are currently seeking volunteers for the Twilight Festival and you can sign up here to donate an hour of your time in support of this fantastic community event. I am confident that you will find it a richly rewarding experience! 

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes