Blacksmiths resident encourages locals to volunteer through talk at Belmont Healthy Lifestyle Expo

Belmont Neighbourhood Centre manager Sheena Harvey working with volunteers in the centre's community garden.

Belmont Neighbourhood Centre manager Sheena Harvey working with volunteers in the centre's community garden.

ONE Blacksmiths resident is attempting to change people's attitudes towards volunteering, one conversation at a time.

Belmont Neighbourhood Centre manager Sheena Harvey knows all too well what she calls "the happiness effect" - the good feeling that comes from giving back to others.

And now she wants to pass it on.

Tomorrow, Mrs Harvey will give a 15-minute talk on volunteering at the second annual Belmont Healthy Lifestyle Expo at Belmont 16s.

She will draw on her experience managing the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre's volunteer-run programs, from tai chi to children's play groups to the community garden.

Mrs Harvey will also talk about how people's strengths can help an organisation and where to go to become involved.

The mum of two, who has also volunteered at Redhead Surf Life Saving Club since she was 16, said she would address the common excuse that people lacked the time to volunteer.

Mrs Harvey said the face of volunteering had changed in the past decade, but it was a matter of finding "the right skills, the right person, the right job".

"You just have to appreciate the skills you've got, look at what an organisation needs and make a union of the two," she said.

"You don't have to give 30 hours a week. We're grateful for one hour."

2014 Belmont Healthy Lifestyle Expo

Thursday, May 1, at Belmont 16s

■ 10.30am Sing Australia Belmont musical performance

■ 11am Australian Academy of Tai Chi demonstration

■ 11.30am Belmont Neighbourhood Centre manager Sheena Harvey on volunteers

■ Noon Healthy cooking demonstration

■ 1pm Heart moves fitness demonstration

Saturday, May 3, at Pat Cahill Oval, Belmont

■ 8am Lake Macquarie Charity Boot Camp raising money for Ronald McDonald House. All ages. Cost, charitable donation.

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