PASSIONATE community contributor Amanda Hough says research shows that the act of giving hits the pleasure centre of the giver’s brain.
The new Surf Coast Shire Local Legend should know – she’s been doing it for long enough.
Amanda has contributed to many local and international community-focused projects during 20 years as a dedicated Rotary Club of Torquay member.
From planting the seeds which flourished into Torquay Rotary’s immensely popular annual Motor Show and Book Fair, to providing an ambulance for a slum in India, or witnessing Rotary’s contribution to plastic and burns surgery on children in Borneo, Amanda has been part of causes bigger than the individual.
Some of her thoughts on the attributes of Rotary best crystallise her attitude.
“I like the fact that we only raise money to give it away. We don’t hoard it, and often – often and ideally – you may never meet the people who benefit from Rotary’s support,” Amanda says.
“To give without the need for thanks, that’s true giving.”
Amanda’s Local Legend award acknowledges and celebrates her commitment to helping her community and environment to thrive.
While her nomination focused on her contributions to Rotary, her inspiration and work in helping establish the new $1.8-million Winchelsea Medical Clinic also glows on her ‘good ideas’ portfolio.
“I’m a nurse at Winchelsea Medical Clinic and we saw that we needed to have a larger clinic to meet the needs of the growing community, so we built our own,” Amanda says.
“Quite a few of us put in our own funds and we designed a purpose-built clinic.
“Doctors and nurses put a lot of hard work into it, and we used mostly local trades. We received a government grant which supported the building of a clinic to meet what we thought would be needed in 10 years’ time.
“As it turned out, the regional population unexpectedly grew during COVID, and we are thankfully now well placed to meet the community health and medical needs.
“Now we’ve got a fabulous clinic with outstanding doctors, nurses and allied health clinicians, all working in a purpose-built clinic”.
Amanda also serves on the board of Geelong Hospice, where funds are provided for people and their families suffering from a terminal illness, as well as supporting health care workers to upgrade their qualifications and research.
She says her professional and volunteer experience has assured her of something.
“As a nurse I see a lot of sadness, grief and loneliness, but I also see the social benefit received by those who are active in their community,” she says.
“Volunteering is a ticket to meet local people and the collective effort of each individual accumulates to make a difference.
“And you make friends. I’ve made friends in Rotary who have become really, really good friends, and it would be likewise for people with Lions, sporting groups, Rubbish Rangers, food bank, the SES or whatever.
“We developed an idea like ‘let’s start a Motor Show’ and with a marvellous team effort under the management of Greg Plumridge and now Bruce Turner, we get a great outcome”.
She says the mantle of Surf Coast Shire Local Legend ‘doesn’t feel comfortable at all’.
“I know people through Rotary and other organisations who are real game-changers,” she says.
“I just do it because I enjoy it. Why should you be especially acknowledged for something you’re having a good time doing?”