How to get more involved in your local community

18 Oct 2016

Research indicates that people with strong ties to the community feel more empowered and have a greater feeling of control over their lives. You can maximize your personal involvement in your local community by volunteering, taking up a hobby shared by other locals, mentoring young people in your area or generally using your skills and experience for the greater good. Here are some ways that you can explore the options available in your community.

1. Remind yourself of the benefits

Socialising within the community fosters a sense of purpose and belonging while bolstering mental activity and your feeling of connectedness. Finding something that you are passionate about can add a boost of motivation into each day and giving to others can also help enhance your mental and physical health. 

2. Volunteer

Offer your services at the local church, hospital, school, charity store or animal shelter to expand your network. Just think about what’s important to you, reach out to that organisation and ask! The right match can help you to reduce stress, find friends, learn new skills and even advance your career. 

3. Speak out in the community

One of the easiest ways to participate in a community is to establish a presence and then make your voice heard. Do you have a special interest in a topic like traffic control, community services or parks? Think about writing an opinion piece for a local website or newspaper, or even giving a talk at a community meeting.

4. Take up a new hobby or join a class

There’s a group for just about everything these days: cycling, walking, hiking, aqua aerobics, art classes, book clubs and cooking classes – you name it, you can probably find a group for it somewhere near you. These groups encourage interaction between likeminded individuals who share an interest.  Taking up a new hobby will not only provide stimulation and enjoyment but will open up your social circle and improve your involvement in the community.  

5. Love the library

Local libraries are a hub of activity with plenty of opportunities to volunteer. You can join classes, attend talks, read to children and assist with upcoming events. Join your local library and reap the benefits of Australia’s wonderful library system. 

6. See what your local council has to offer

Make the most of your tax dollars by seeing what services are offered by your local council and state government. There are countless initiatives all year round aimed at keeping Australians active within the community.

7. Adopt a mentoring role

Put your decades of professional or life experience to good use by joining a mentoring program via the National Mentoring Association of Australia. In their role as mentors, experienced adults assist younger individuals to navigate their career paths by offering them guidance and assistance.