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Become a Kerrabee Centre volunteer and help make a difference

Published on 31 July 2018
  • Health and wellbeing
Kerabee-2.jpg Kerrabee Centre’s caring and dedicated volunteers say they get more out of volunteering than they give

An outing, a friendly chat over a cup of tea and receiving support and guidance from a caring volunteer changes the lives of residents who take part in day programs at Council’s Kerrabee Centre.

Kerrabee’s loyal band of social support volunteers play a vital role in assisting clients to feel less isolated and part of the wider community.

And as most will tell you, they get more out of volunteering than they give.

“Most of all I just like mixing with the people, talking to them and learning their stories,” says Carol McLachlan, who has been a volunteer at Kerrabee for five years.

Carol enjoys the one day a week she gets to spend interacting with the men and women who attend Kerrabee’s Wednesday social group.

“We get so much pleasure out of it, even more so than the clients.”

For John Hayes, volunteering was something he knew he always wanted to do.

So after recently retiring from the corporate world, he contacted Council looking for volunteering opportunities, and was matched with Kerrabee’s Monday Men’s Group.

A year on and he couldn’t imagine life without volunteering.

Kerrabee’s Social Inclusion and Wellbeing Program, run by skilled and experienced staff with the help of volunteers, ensures residents who are frail or aged, have a disability, or who are socially isolated, receive support to remain independent and continue to participate in their community.

Graham Burton, a former electrical engineer, and Barry Halliday, a general “handyman”, also volunteer with the Men’s Group. Most of their time is spent helping clients in the woodwork room, creating everything from planter boxes and wheelbarrows, to bird feeders and possum nesting boxes.

Barry, a volunteer for 20 years, started out as a driver with Kerrabee eight years ago, ferrying clients to and from home from their daily social programs.

“I really enjoy it and only hope to be able to keep going,” he says.

Gail Carter volunteers at Kerrabee once a week, driving the clients to their library visit and assisting them with their borrowing.

“I started out doing Meals on Wheels in Croydon 10 years ago and then did the bus run when I became a driver at Kerrabee about seven or eight years ago.

“They’re such great characters that you meet. I love it, it’s great. It gets me out as well as I’m 73,” she says.

“And you don’t need to be retired to volunteer. We need some more youngish ones; they would really love it here.”

Become a Kerrabee volunteer

Council’s Social Support Program is looking for more volunteers to join its day programs, which provide a variety of activities for isolated, frail older people to enhance their health and wellbeing.

As a volunteer you could help run art and craft activities, assist with the meal preparation for clients, or drive the 12-seater bus on day trips, visits to the local libraries and shopping.

Volunteers also provide support to staff, who are integral to the successful provision of Kerrabee’s nine social inclusion and wellbeing programs.

Find out more about volunteering to support the Social Support Program, or other Council activities, or for further information call 1300 88 22 33.

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