10 May 2024

Dynamic duo from Lake Illawarra take mother-daughter bonding to the next level

| Zoe Cartwright
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Holly and Carla King

Holly and Carla King have put themselves on the frontline for their community, after flooding last year left them feeling helpless. Photo: NSW SES.

Mother-daughter duo Holly and Carla King have stepped up to lend a hand to their community in the toughest times.

The Lake Illawarra pair were part of Shellharbour SES’s first crop of new volunteers for 2024. More than a dozen community members have completed the first steps of the training required to be job-ready when disaster strikes.

Holly said she and her daughter were inspired to volunteer after the 2023 floods left them feeling helpless.

“I was seeing all these things happen on the news, so I reached out on Facebook to see if anyone needed a hand to tarp up roofs or get rid of rubbish and clutter,” she said.

“I felt really helpless; I wanted to help and my daughter did too, but it was difficult to find who needed help and I didn’t have a lot of the skills that were needed.

“Carla did an internship with the SES and they invited us to come along and sign up as volunteers, so we jumped at the opportunity.

“Now we have the training and experience we need to go out and help when disaster strikes.”

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Holly said the training provided by the SES was top-notch.

Some parents have a tough time bonding with their teens, but Holly said learning new skills together was a great way to connect.

“Carla is 16 and she’s a legend,” Holly said.

“Through the years we’ve done lots of things together but through this we’re able to help others and interact with other locals.

“We’ve gained height safety and chainsaw tickets, as well as the experience we need to go out there, get our hands dirty and play in the rain.

“I’d encourage any parents to do the same with their kids; it’s so fun down there and it’s a real buzz.”

For anyone on the fence about volunteering, Holly said the environment at the SES couldn’t be more welcoming or flexible.

For women, it offers the opportunity to learn skills that often aren’t taught at home.

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“It’s quite empowering to get up on heights and use tools and things,” she said.

“It’s only a couple of hours of your time on a Monday night, and then you’re in charge of your own availabilities for emergencies.

“You don’t have to be there for every event, you do what you can.

“I’d encourage anyone thinking about it to have a go – you’ll have an absolute blast and amazing interactions with your community.”

To volunteer with the SES head to Volunteer with NSW SES | NSW State Emergency Service.

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