Interview with volunteer, Rachel Furner of Branxton

Playgroup NSW

Mon 02-May-16

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For many parents, joining a playgroup means a couple of hours’ rest while their children mingle, play and interact with others. But for Rachel Furner, playgroup means a lot more. With her local Branxton playgroup facing an uncertain future, mother of three, Rachel, stepped up , volunteering as Coordinator of the playgroup.

 “I started coming to Branxton playgroup back in 2014, when my second eldest child was just six months old. The playgroup is a 41-year-old community group, and it fundraised and built our local playgroup hall 35 years ago, so there’s a lot of history behind it.”

 “I took over as Coordinator in September 2015. We were experiencing issues with our venue at the time. As a mother of three, I knew how it felt being able to come to playgroup and spend time with other families; so I couldn’t stand aside and just let it go. Even though my youngest son Oliver was only two months old at the time, I was prepared to step in and take on the role, if it meant being able to continue our playgroup.”

 As a coordinator, Rachel is the first point of contact for all matters Branxton playgroup-related. On one hand, she organises fundraising initiatives and promotion to the local community. On the other, Rachel works with the playgroup’s Secretary and Treasurer and coordinates day leaders to ensure communication is open to all members of the playgroup. She also welcomes visiting parents and answers enquiries about the playgroup, and manages the day-to-day running of the playgroup.

 Rachel says her volunteer efforts may have helped continue the Branxton playgroup, but she credits its success to the involvement and generosity of the parents and carers who attend and their passion for the playgroup and the values it holds.

 “We pride our playgroup on its approachability. I’ve really tried to make playgroup an inclusive experience for both the parents and the children, and encourage the idea that we welcome everyone.”

 “The best part of being a playgroup volunteer is when the new mums come in and say to me that playgroup is exactly what they need. That is such a great feeling.”

 “Volunteering and being part of the playgroup gives you a sense of community within the community. It’s definitely given me friends for life. It means the world knowing that we’ve kept a 41-year-old playgroup going. It’s very rewarding.”

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