We would like to introduce you to one of the many passionate and courageous volunteers in our community, Pat Hughes OAM.
As a communicator and advocate for social change, Pat has dedicated close to 65 years of her life to volunteering for various causes.
Pat’s main volunteering focus these days is with the Country Women’s Association of NSW (the CWA), which she joined in 2011 after moving down from Sydney. Before that, she was involved in volunteering for many years in the Girl Guides Association, providing young women with opportunities to develop resourcefulness, friendships, community service, and leadership.
Pat chose to join the CWA because its projects and fundraising activities are for a wide range of really good causes, such as rural education scholarships, bursaries for health professionals in rural areas, rural disaster relief funds, medical research, and aid to projects that empower rural women in developing countries. Overarching all of this, Pat was impressed by their key lobbying and advocacy role, which focuses on improving services and social policy for rural communities and families. As a communicator, Pat appreciates the CWA’s grass-roots structure, where all members have a say in determining the issues that are then successfully advocated by the organisation.
Pat has attended six annual conferences where policy and/or service proposals emanating from a particular Branch are debated, and then adopted or not. She feels proud to have a voice in considering areas of rural need and improvement, shaping the CWA’s advocacy platform. For example, as she travels on country roads, Pat is pleased that the CWA was behind the safety initiative of having white lines on the outer edges of the road many years ago. More recently, she has been impressed with the CWA’s contribution to various important enquiries into rural health services, coercive behaviour as a form of domestic violence, and women’s homelessness.
As a communicator, Pat likes the fact that the CWA is an organisation where she can contribute to broader social change through its advocacy role, as well as to direct local community initiatives and friendships through Branch activities. She believes that being a communicator is an important role in bringing about change, and the CWA provides her with a platform to do so.
If you’re interested in becoming a communicator volunteer like Pat, we encourage you to explore the opportunities available in our community. Pat is a member of the Exeter CWA Branch, her advice is to ‘come along to a meeting and see what we’re like and what we do’. There are members from many parts of the Highlands and beyond. The Exeter CWA Branch meet on the third Wednesday of each month, at Exeter Village Hall. From grassroots organisations to national advocacy groups, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference. Together, we can work towards a more just and equitable future for all.