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Volunteer and brighten someone’s day simply by being yourself

12 Oct 2016 - Media Releases

If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, now’s the time to sign up. Volunteers are being sought to join the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS), a Federal Government initiative that sees volunteers regularly visit a person in a care facility to simply keep them company and help to reduce feelings of loneliness.

Steve Chapman volunteers with the YMCA NSW CVS program at an aged care facility in the Auburn area. He puts time aside to offer companionship to elderly resident, Walter Zeimba.

Steve explains: “My priority for 45 years was work and family. In the years leading to my retirement in 2015, I decided to try and give something back to the community. As I was dealing with people my entire career, I was a very good listener, and could start up a conversation with anyone.

“I have learnt many things through visiting Walter. I have always arrived with good coffee for the last 6 years, as being from Boston he loves his coffee, although we have now agreed that during summer it will be a large Vanilla thickshake.”

 YMCA NSW CEO Leisa Hart explained the importance of keeping the culture of volunteering alive.

“I understand that we all feel like life is flat out, our diaries are full, we’ve got sporting events on the weekend and then of course work commitments during the week, but if you can just spare an hour a fortnight, it could be life changing for someone else and yourself."

“If you can read the paper, play chess or simply enjoy a stroll outside then our CVS program is for you. Not only will you help someone to feel more valued and connected to their community, chances are you’ll get immense satisfaction from it, too.”

The recent Aged and Community Services Australia 2015 report on social isolation and loneliness among the elderly found that about a third of older Australians experienced loneliness, with clear links being drawn between loneliness and poorer mental and physical health and earlier death.

Volunteering with the Community Visitors Scheme can reverse this while providing enormous benefits to the volunteer.

If you would like to become a volunteer please see the latest volunteer opportunities here

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