We are always welcoming new volunteers to our team, as there are plenty of sessions to run and jobs to do! Our volunteer group consists of a core group of committee members, and a group of volunteer session leaders. We have WhatsApp chats for both groups for communication and support. You can be on our committee, volunteer as a session leader, or both!
Our committee members and their role
Committee members have input on high level issues that affect the running of our playgroups, such as our finances, acquisitions, grant applications, venue leases and committee composition. Committee members are asked to attend our annual general meeting (AGM).
We welcome new committee members each year at the AGM. Some of our committee members are past session leaders, and have stayed on to help us run the group – we thank them for their super altruistic contribution! This is the perfect role if you would like to have input into the running of our playgroups, without needing to run sessions yourself.
Our session leaders and their role
Our session leaders are playgroup members who have stepped up to run a session. They will either hold a key (at Vaucluse) or know our lock box code (at Francis St and Wairoa Avenue). Each Sunday, our committee member Sara sends a message to our volunteer WhatsApp group to check who can run sessions for the following week, and we notify our community of the schedule via our Facebook page.
At the start of a session, leaders will open up the venue; put out the money box and QR registration signs; start the process of setting up activities; and welcome new attendees and show them how to sign in/pay.
We are a community playgroup, and everyone attending must contribute to the running the session: setting up, packing up, etc and it’s super helpful if existing members welcome newbies and show them around.
Session leaders are the sensible adult in attendance, and have the final say on any activities or safety issues. For example, craft or any other messy activities are at the discretion of the session leader.
At the end of the session, leaders should start the process of packing up so everyone attending can contribute; answer any questions on where things should be put; count up the cash and transfer it to the Bondi Beach Playgroups account; and lock up once everything is packed up.
Running a playgroup session should be easy, and we have other session leaders and committee members on our WhatsApp chat available if any issues arise. They rarely do, but we are around to support you if there is a problem. We also hold quarterly volunteer-only playgroups to support each other, share ideas and welcome new volunteers.
Our regular session leaders attend playgroup on a complimentary basis, in recognition that playgroup simply wouldn’t happen without their attendance.
All session leaders must be part of our volunteer WhatsApp group as it’s vital that we keep in contact with everyone who may be running a session and/or accessing our venues.
If this sounds good to you, then please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can take it from there! We’ve compiled a FAQ below which you may also find answers some questions that you may have about volunteering. We would love to have you as part of our team!
Potential volunteer – frequently asked questions
Can my mothers/parents group have our own session?
We welcome groups of people to join a particular session, as it creates a core group of regular attendees and a positive busy vibe. Unfortunately, we cannot offer exclusivity for a particular group, as all sessions are open to everyone in the spirit of building a supportive community for all. Please do come along as a group and engage with other people who attend… you will make friends with children of a variety of ages & stages, which can be very useful for your own parenting development. You never know who you will meet or friends that you will make!
Do I have to volunteer every week?
The short answer is no – we offer lots of flexibility. That said, we try to keep a loose schedule each week, due to the admin involved in setting up and marketing new sessions (and most of us like a bit of routine!). We strongly encourage our group leaders to buddy up with fellow volunteers, so that the load can be shared and sessions covered when someone is sick/on holidays/needs a break. It’s way more fun to have several volunteers in attendance, and our volunteers often end up becoming friends.
Do I have to stay for the whole session?
We like to stick to the schedule that we’ve put up on our Facebook page – if there is a session that you know you’ll need to leave early for (eg an appointment etc) please let Sara know at our Sunday session check-in and we’ll adjust the schedule accordingly. However, we know things can happen on the day, and if you’d like to close a little earlier because it’s not busy, your child is having a tantrum or needs a nap, it’s about to rain, or any other reason, it is at your complete discretion. If there is another session leader in attendance, they may be happy to close for you (and this is another reason why we strongly encourage session leaders to buddy up). Please do not give the keys/code to other attendees who are not session leaders, because we need to know the venue has been left tidy and secure.
What if I’m sick or need to work on my session day? (or anything else!)
Please let us know as early as possible on the WhatsApp chat if you can’t open your session. Someone in the group may be able to cover for you. If that’s not possible, we will post a notice on our Facebook page to let attendees know the session is cancelled. Obviously the earlier we know, the more chance we have of getting someone to step in and/or letting our attendees know in a timely way. But life happens and if you need to cancel, just let us know.
What if I’m running late?
We know things happen, especially with kids in tow. Similarly to cancelled sessions, please post in the WhatsApp group – another volunteer might be close by and can help out. It also helps us answering any Facebook messages we might get from participants.
Can volunteering with playgroup be used for the Child Care Subsidy activity test?
Centrelink has guidelines on the type of volunteering that can contribute towards the activity test. If you are on our volunteer committee and/or are a session leader, you may satisfy Centrelink’s volunteering criteria. Please note that simply attending playgroup with your child and doing the usual community contribution (set up, pack up etc) is not sufficient for Centrelink’s definition of volunteering. If in doubt, please contact Centrelink to discuss your situation. The Bondi Beach Playgroups committee does not maintain records of volunteer hours, and maintaining such records is the responsibility of each volunteer.
Can I be a volunteer without my child in attendance?
Yes, you can be a session leader purely in a volunteer capacity, without your own child in your care. However, you will need to hold a current Working With Children Check (Volunteer), and supply these details to our committee. This could be valuable work experience for someone looking to move into the teaching/early education sector; to be used for Centrelink volunteering/activity test requirements; or simply to contribute to your community in a meaningful way. Please note, obtaining a WWCC (Volunteer) is free and can be done via Service NSW.
I’m a grandparent/nanny, can I volunteer?
Yes, you can be a session leader! However, you will need to hold a current Working With Children Check (Volunteer), and supply these details to our committee. Please note, obtaining a WWCC (Volunteer) if free and can be done via Service NSW.