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St Vincent's volunteers making a world of difference

20 May 2019

Across each of St Vincent’s Care Services’ nine Queensland aged care and retirement living facilities and in-home community living services, an army of volunteers are devoting their time in service of others. 

Coming from all walks of life, St Vincent’s volunteers dedicate their spare time in a diverse range of roles, activities and tasks, and are a true embodiment of the 2019 National Volunteers Week theme of Making a world of difference. 

Ann Richardson has been volunteering at St Vincent’s Care Services Arundel for the past six years. 

“I really enjoy the work I do here at Arundel. I work with the Lifestyle co-ordinator and help her organise things like outings, craft, games, shopping, and I also do one-on-one sessions with some residents.

“I enjoy every minute I spend at the facility, and have some favourite memories such as a 100th birthday party last year, Christmas parties and Melbourne Cup parties. Most days I spend here are fun days.

“I feel both the residents and volunteers benefit from spending time together, especially those residents who have no family close by, and I would recommend it to anybody thinking about becoming a volunteer,” Ann said.

With St Vincent’s Care Services aged care and retirement living facilities and home care support across south-east Queensland, the opportunities are almost endless for volunteers to put their existing skills to work, or even discover a new skill set. 

One such person is Alison Lowien, a volunteer at St Vincent’s Care Services Toowoomba. Allison has been volunteering there for five years, and two years ago tried her hand at working in the facility’s coffee shop.

“I’ve been doing craft at home for over 15 years now so I help plan and run some craft sessions in the facility. Then around two to three years ago another volunteer asked me if I would like to help her in the coffee shop.

“I taught myself to make cappuccinos by watching baristas in coffee shops and through Google! I love making coffees and the challenge of trying to make a good cappuccino. You also get to talk to the customers whether they be residents or their family and friends, or staff or other volunteers. They always comment how nice the coffees are!

Alison says volunteering has benefits not only for those living and working in the facility, but herself.

“A few years ago we had a lovely resident who needed to keep her legs raised, so she would spend time in bed. She was getting isolated and lonely so I took craft to her and we spent time chatting while doing our craft. Her health improved and she returned to the craft group and we had a special bond from then on.

 “I am doing what I LOVE, and I absolutely LOVE volunteering. It is really nice to know my time is appreciated by staff as well as residents. It makes you feel good knowing you are helping others. I think we get more out of it than we give!”

Alison Lowein

Interested in volunteering with us? Find out more here.