Wesley Mission Queensland in Chermside Fights Loneliness Through Volunteers

One in four adults in Australia have volunteered since the Covid-19 pandemic, but Wesley Mission Queensland based in Chermside is providing flexible volunteering opportunities that are reviving interest and combating loneliness in aged care facilities across Brisbane.

Wesley Mission Queensland runs the volunteer-led, government-funded Aged Care Volunteer Visitor Scheme (ACVVS) in its aged care communities. The scheme aims to reduce the impacts of isolation and boredom amongst older Australians by pairing them with volunteer visitors for weekly or fortnightly visits over a cup of tea and a chat.  

Changing Volunteering Landscape

While volunteering rates have steadily declined across Australia since 2010, Wesley Mission Queensland has maintained a steady volunteer base by offering flexible, short-term opportunities tailored to people’s lifestyles. 

“With the average age of our volunteer network now being 49 years old, we understand that people wish to give back in ad hoc opportunities which suit their lifestyle. They also seek to be engaged in a number of short-term volunteer opportunities to grow their portfolio and ‘try before they buy’,” said Volunteer Relations Manager Nicole Mujdrica.

The ACVVS combats social isolation and loneliness among older Australians and offers a profound sense of purpose to volunteers from diverse backgrounds. 

“Volunteering and spending time with Maureen (aged care resident) has really put things in perspective for me. It helps me to be more present and value my good health and age now because I know it doesn’t last forever,” Lisa Bellamywells, a 52-year-old mother balancing part-time work and family responsibilities, said. 

Mitchell Ward, a 32-year-old former support worker who joined in February 2024.

“I love spending time with the oldies, making them feel comfortable and to brighten their day it makes me feel good giving back to the community.”  

Wesley Mission Queensland National Volunteer Week
Photo Credit: Supplied

Call to Action for National Volunteer Week

As National Volunteer Week is celebrated from May 20-26, Wesley Mission Queensland invites individuals of all ages to volunteer and drive positive change in their communities through the Aged Care Volunteer Visitor Scheme.

 “It’s only an hour out of your week that makes a massive difference to the residents’ entire week – I hope someone is compassionate enough to spend an hour with me in my older years,” Lisa said.

Published 24-May-2024

Chermside Op-Shop Celebrates Vital Role of Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

Volunteer Sri Puspa Atkinson continues to make a profound impact at Save the Children Chermside op-shop, dedicating over a year to helping those in need and bringing joy to the community.

Sri, originally from Indonesia and a Brisbane resident for nearly 24 years, embodies the spirit of altruism at the Chermside op-shop. With a diverse background spanning film production and documentary work, Sri’s passion for volunteering has been a constant thread throughout her life. 

“For me, there is no happier feeling than to be able to help those in need and see them happy,” Sri shared, reflecting on her over a year of volunteer work at the op-shop, as Australia commemorates National Volunteer Week from the 20th to 26th of May 2024. 

Save the Children volunteer Sri at Chermside
Photo Credit: Supplied

Her creative skills as a former make-up artist and costume designer in the film industry play a significant role in her current volunteer work, especially when creating engaging displays from donated items.

Community Impact

Andrena Nowlan, Save the Children Australia’s Director of Retail, highlighted the essential role of volunteers like Sri. 

“Without the support of volunteers, including the wonderful volunteers in our op shops, it would be much harder to carry out our work that protects and supports children across Australia and around the world,” she said. 

Ms Nowlan emphasised that National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize the significant contributions of volunteers within their communities and their dedication to the organisation’s mission.

Chermside op-shop volunteer Sri
Photo Credit: Supplied

A Legacy of Helping Children

Save the Children has been an active part of the Australian community for over a century and stands as one of the country’s leading child rights charities. 

The Chermside Op-Shop, located at 755 Gympie Road, has been operational since October 2015 and continues to support the organisation’s lifesaving programs through the sale of donated items. 

These funds aid children both locally and globally, ensuring they receive the support and protection they need during critical times.

Published 22-May-2024