Many community groups around Bermagui and Narooma are desperate for volunteers.
They report volunteer fatigue and strong competition for volunteers.
Nadine Hills, a psychologist and member of the Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), said bushfires and then COVID resulted in people being isolated from each other and withdrawing from activity.
Groups looking for volunteers include Bermagui Historical Society, Bermagui SCLC, Montreal Goldfield, Eurobodalla Animal Welfare League and the associated Narooma Dog Training Club, Eurobodalla Natural History Society, Montague Art & Craft Society and Bega's Ricky's Place and Community Pantry.
Yet the NSW State of Volunteering report found that 69 per cent of the 1000-plus organisations that contributed to the report predicted they would have the same number of volunteers, or more, in three years' time.
That is not the reality for Carol Hellmers, secretary of the Narooma Dog Training Club, committee member of Cobargo Creators and member of the program team of U3A, University of the Third Age.
Ms Hellmers said Narooma community groups like the Montague 50s & Over Club and the Organ Club have disappeared while numbers for the local camera club have dwindled.
"We have a small population to draw on," Ms Hellmers said.
"The more input you need from your community of volunteers, the more likely they are to get overwhelmed or burnt out."
Because of the area's small population "there is a lot of competition" for volunteers, she said.
Allan Douch, president of the Bermagui Historical Society, said that volunteering for groups like the historical society and Montreal Goldfield had benefits including learning things and meeting people.
"There is the social side of it, being socially involved with other people and visiting historical sites," Mr Douch said.
Dave Alderman, club captain of Bermagui SLSC, said its members get free accredited training, "get to play in boats" and can be trained to be a drone pilot.
"We are one of the leading emergency services organisations for using drones."
Ms Hellmers, who moved to the area about eight years ago, said "I feel a lot more connected to the place through the people that I have met volunteering."
Ms Hills said psychological research such as that by Dr Martin Seligman indicates that happiness is greatest when we are participating with, and contributing to, others.
"Now is the ideal time for people to start to become involved again in activities that connect them with others," Ms Hills said.
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