Centacare rewards its volunteers
By Kathleen Carmody
More than 30 Centacare volunteers were treated to a cruise down Sydney’s George’s River to celebrate Christmas and mark the end of the International Year of the Volunteer.
“We wanted to thank our volunteers for all the work they do and all the effort they put in,” said Ann Murray, manager of Centacare’s ageing and disabilities services.
The four-hour cruise included morning tea and lunch and the volunteers enjoyed the day just chatting and relaxing in the open air while Christmas carols played softly in the background.
About 50 people volunteer for Centacare’s Neighbour Aid Program in the Bankstown, Liverpool and Fairfield area. This is a home visiting and support program for frail aged people, people with disabilities or people who are isolated, aimed at enhancing people’s lives by providing them with social support to help them live independently in the community.
Ms Murray said the volunteers were fantastic.
“We can give people guidelines about what to do and how to visit somebody but all of these people go well and truly beyond all of that,” she said.
“They really do. It’s not a job, it really is something that they love to do.”
Robyn Grady has been a volunteer for two years and says the experience has been worthwhile. Ms Grady, who doesn’t work for health reasons, said she initially volunteered because she thought it would be a good thing to do for the community.
“The lady I visit can’t really move around much, she can’t really get out, so I just go there make coffee and just be somebody to talk to,” she says. But Ms Grady says the benefits go both ways.
“It’s good for me to get out and talk to people, and the people that we visit have a lot of life experiences,” she said.
After lunch the volunteers were presented with cards and framed certificates in appreciation of their efforts.
Paul Barber, who has been a volunteer for “going on 10 years”, is also a Centacare client who, as a bilateral amputee, requires continuing assistance. And now he’s been put on staff as a paid community services worker.
Mr Barber says his volunteer work is a way of giving something back to Centacare for the help it has given him. But he also enjoys it.
And it gives him a focus in life. “I’m disabled myself,” he said, “but my attitude towards life and to my disability is pretty good, is very positive, and I try and help others to try and do the same thing, or be the same way with their disability.”