News & Events

OCAV recognises ‘priceless’ volunteers and on the lookout for more

June 10, 2019

Volunteer Week, celebrated nationally in May, is a chance for Kim D’Angelis, OCAV’s Volunteer Coordinator, to reflect on the amazing work of the volunteers, but also to plan ahead.

“Our volunteers are priceless. Their contribution to this organisation and to the residents is enormous. It’s not just their hours of service, but the impact of that service,” Kim said.

While OCAV has a great army of volunteers, it also has gaps, which it is working to fill in the coming months. Kim would like to see more volunteers brought into the Braeside Park and Currie Park village communities.

She is on the lookout for some specific skills in volunteers, including a volunteer to:
·      be trained to run exercise classes at the new exercise park at Leith Park
·      play the piano to accompany the choir at Rushall Park in North Fitzroy
·      provide social support for residents in Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility at St Helena
·      paint ladies’ fingernails at Liscombe House
·      run meditation classes at all Estates
·      assist with the celebrations on our 150thanniversary at each Estate.

They will join OCAV’s 190 volunteers who come from the four villages and the wider community. At Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility at St Helena, the 95 mostly external volunteers provide myriad services supporting staff to run the men’s group, art classes, bingo, happy hour, pet visits, walks, social outings, sing-alongs, games, art and craft, cooking demonstrations, religious services, and current affairs discussions – just to name a few.

“Their presence, week after week, means that a lot of people who might live pretty isolated lives, have a friend, someone they share their story with. It means that we can provide all sorts of extra activities and it means we can help people live the fullest lives that they can.”

While many of OCAV’s volunteers are recent retirees, the age range is vast. The youngest volunteer is a 15-year-old student who helps residents in our dementia wing, and the oldest volunteer is 95 who looks after the Liscombe House library books.  The average time a volunteer stays with OCAV is just over five years.

If someone puts their hand up for one of these roles, they will receive orientation by Kim and her team. There are at least 30 residents across the four villages that regularly take other residents to appointments, shopping, the library and to meet up with former residents.

Kim believes that one of the most important aspects of volunteering is the capacity of the volunteer to make social connections and keep the residents in touch with the community that they were once a part of.

“We make it very clear to volunteers during orientation that they are coming into someone’s home. That means they will become a part of a person’s life and that is a very important role,” Kim said.

“Volunteering works when it is seen as a two-way arrangement. It works well when the volunteers feel respected and when their skills and years of life experience are valued. We certainly value our volunteers and we thank them.”

If you are interested in volunteering at one of OCAV’s four villages (St Helena, Berwick, North Fitzroy or Euroa) please contact Kim D’Angelis on 94331120.

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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