Dear Editor,

“Resilience – The missing link for community groups and society” was commissioned for research for a Masters Course work Thesis by the University of Newcastle, Australia. I thought I would share the findings of this investigated research and how it relates to the times we are living at present. The author examined how the clubs of Toastmasters International in the Port Macquarie region of New South Wales Australia the member’s psychological wellbeing and resilience were impacted.

A cluster-based sampling method based on volunteers in the Port Macquarie clubs of Toastmasters International was conducted. From the analysis of the individual survey and focus group, the qualitative responses identified similar reasons to the survey for people joining Toastmasters International. However, regarding the quantitative scores (survey) for psychological well-being and resilience the quantitative results indicated only normal levels of resilience and some of the time well-being. The focus group responses indicated improved confidence, members gained “self- resilience” with “improved memory and reduced anxiety”.

The reason why people joined community groups like Toastmasters International as identified by the surveyed participants were: –
– Gain skills
– Friends already there
– Wanted to meet people and were asked to join
Acceptance and a sense of belonging were other reasons for joining. Whilst the measured quantitative aspects of psychological well-being and resilience maybe not be overly exposed, qualitatively these aspects were commented upon by all members and indicated a gain in resilience and psychological well-being by members who joined. Definite insights into why older females join a community group and what benefits they get by joining a community group was obtained by the study. An important note concerning Toastmasters International, is that why the Toastmasters’ values were not overly commented on as drawing members to their community group they played a significant role in the personal and social development of members and keeping them as members to their club. Therefore, highlighting the fact that community groups like Toastmasters International can play apart in building resilience and giving a sense of psychological wellbeing to members in the community.
With social distancing and use of the media platform zoom, participants can still meet and build fellowship and maintain those resilience links gained by being in a community group like Toastmasters. So, if you are feeling down and a bit lost, joining a local community group maybe just what you need even if it is only online to start.

Timothy Connolly 

(Toasmasters Port Macquarie.)

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