We are a rare breed of hometown enthusiasts here in the Gong. And part of what makes this community so great is how active locals of the area are about staying connected. Whether it's through a shared love for the stunning outdoor scenery or a commitment to the city’s growth, we are all doing our bit to keep the spirit of The Gong alive. If you’re looking for more ways to create purposeful relationships in your community, then check out our four ways to stay involved below.
- Volunteer Your Time
One of the most direct and impactful ways to connect with your community is by volunteering your time and skills. Identify local organisations, charities, or non-profits that align with your interests or passions.
Assisting with foodbanks to support those experiencing financial hardship is one great way to get involved. Organisations such as FoodFairnessIllawarra and Ozharvest are often looking for volunteers and they are doing amazing work to help transform lives. Animal shelters such as the RSPCA is another great way to make a difference and meet lovable furry friends in the area. And SCARF, as well as Illawarra Multicultural Services offer awesome activities and events with the aim to assist the culturally and linguistically diverse population and build community connections.
Consider your strengths and interests when choosing where to volunteer. If you enjoy working with children, explore mentoring programs or after-school activities. If you have professional skills, offer your expertise to local non-profits in areas like marketing, finance, or web development. Remember, your time and effort can have a significant impact on the success of these organisations and your community.
- Join a community garden
Community gardens in the Illawarra region are flourishing and play a significant role in promoting sustainable living, fostering community connections, and enhancing food security. Joining a community garden means you can grow fresh and delicious produce for your family and friends, while also learning from and educating others.
One of our favourites is Dapto Community Farm. It is an excellent community-driven initiative, where locals collaborate to grow fresh produce, share gardening tips, and engage in educational activities. Dapto Community Farm welcomes new members to rent their own plot or to share with others in a communal plot where you share the work, costs and produce. You can also join as a member and purchase healthy seasonal seedlings to start a garden in your own back yard.
Here is an action shot of Alfie enjoying the tour of a plot we used to work on in Dapto.
- Support Local Businesses:
Supporting local businesses is a fantastic way to connect with the community. When you shop locally, dine at neighbourhood restaurants, or frequent local markets, you help stimulate the local economy and create jobs for your neighbours. Small businesses are the backbone of many communities, and your patronage can directly impact their success.
Some of our all-time favourite restaurants/cafes in the area are:
Bali Spice Magic
Bread & Espresso
Lee & Me
Taste of Asia
PlantBasedEatery (at Eat Street Markets on Thursdays)
- Organise Community Initiatives:
Taking the initiative to organise community events can be a powerful way to stay involved. Wild Women of Wollongong is an amazing Facebook group that uses community chats to bring women in the area together for new social activities. You can organise anything from dog play dates to yoga in the park! Next time you are looking for something to do on a weekend, why not organise a community event, like a potluck picnic in the park, or an outdoor soccer game (Go the Matildas).
We live in such an amazing place here in Wollongong and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the place we call home. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures! And remember that you can see all your favourite spots and recall your best moments on The Wollongong Map