Azka Hameed, volunteer gardener

Finding happiness in the simple things in life is a personal tenet of Prof. Lea Waters, founding director of the Centre for Positive Psychology at Melbourne University.

“One of the most powerful things is to contribute to the happiness of others; it changes our sense of who we are,” she says.

Volunteers know this and thrive on it. Twenty-something Azka Hameed puts her hand up as often as possible, including when travelling overseas. When at home, she gardens with Sydney Community Services’ volunteer team.

“You really do get something back as a volunteer: you can perform a minor gesture and it makes people happy – which makes you feel great. Also I’ve learned a lot of skills when volunteering, and met and networked with all sorts of people.” One of them became Azka’s best friend.

Alan Seale, volunteer movie man and linen service

Alan Seale voluntarily runs a social movie afternoon at SCS each month and, for more than eight years, he’s also generously found time each fortnight to deliver fresh linen and make beds for clients. He likes working on the linen service because he has come to know clients and looks forward to catching up with them. As Alan says, social connection is a “two-way street”.

“It’s great to see clients being so pleased that we’re turning up. Once a friendly couple even arranged for their son to be there to meet us, just to introduce us to him – and they put on a lovely morning tea.”

Pam Bruce, volunteer catering hand

Pam Bruce is part of the volunteer team behind events coordinator, Julie Faigen. Together they serve three-course luncheons twice monthly for seniors at SCS Lane Cove Community Hub.

“I like doing food preparation, I like the boss, the catering team, and of course the clients. I especially like seeing the clients, and helping them, because they really enjoy the luncheons. So it’s fun,” says Pam who has been part of the volunteer catering team in our big commercial kitchen since 2014.

The theme for volunteers’ week, May 20–26, is ‘Making a world of difference’. Our volunteers are doing just that, and it makes them feel happier, more connected with community and part of something bigger than themselves. Many SCS services which help seniors and disabled stay independent at home simply could not run without hundreds of volunteers. They enable us to provide gardening and fresh linen services, a Community Visiting Scheme for people at risk of isolation, social engagement and entertainment at Hunters Hill and Lane Cove Community Hubs, and to home-deliver almost 30,000 meals each year.

We’re thanking and celebrating our volunteers on May 20, at SCS, 1 Pottery Lane, at a morning tea. It will be one of thousands of events held across the country to celebrate people who generously give up their time for for good reasons.  If you’d like to be part of the SCS team that gives back  to the local community, please call our friendly Volunteer Coordinator on 9427 6425, or email

More information on our website here