The dedicated volunteers who donate their time to keep vital community services running across the City of Whittlesea will be celebrated during National Volunteer Week (17-23 May).
This year’s theme 'Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine.' acknowledges the importance of celebrating and thanking volunteers for the important role they play.
Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said volunteers were an integral part of the social fabric, and their impact has been felt like never before during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Volunteers help to build connections and social networks for those in need, driving a sense of community and belonging, and for that we are truly grateful and cannot thank them enough,” Ms Wilson said.
“The global pandemic saw some of our most vulnerable residents left isolated, and our volunteers rallied to provide support and comfort.”
The City of Whittlesea’s many hard-working volunteers and community groups help across services including Delivered Meals, Social Support and Positive Ageing.
They assist with activities such as delivering meals to older residents, helping to run the Social Support and LEAP Golf programs, visiting lonely and isolated people and transporting community members to and from programs.
Ian Boon has been delivering meals and helping to run the LEAP Seniors’ Golf Program for eight years and says the role gives great satisfaction.
“You’re keeping people in their own homes. They can’t stand up at a stove and cook meals, and their families can’t do it because they’ve got to go to work. You’re keeping them in their own home and they’re not going into aged homes,” Mr Boon said.
Julie Heskett joined the Delivered Meals program when she retired five years ago, as a way of giving back to the community.
She said she enjoyed building connections and chatting to her clients, while also making sure they were safe.
“A lot of the residents, you see their face light up and you think, perhaps they haven’t seen someone for a few days,” she said.
“The welfare check I think is one of the really important things. I did have a gentleman one day that I couldn’t raise, phoned the office, I could hear his phone ringing, and then I heard a voice. I found him, I went around and I could see that he’d fallen over at the back stairs.”
The City of Whittlesea’s Ageing Well department will host a thank you event for our volunteers on Thursday, 20 May.
Volunteers who have completed five 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of service will receive a certificate and pin that will be presented by Administrators Wilson and Duncan.