News & Events

Vera makes a difference inside and outside Leith Park

March 2, 2020

Vera Lay’s father joined the Salvation Army when he migrated from England in 1927.  He gave his family sound advice, one being to “Go through life with the palm of your hand down, in that way you are giving, not taking”. To this day she cannot pass an Army person rattling their donation tin. It’s certainly been the pattern for Vera since moving into OCAV’s Leith Park village four years ago.

She has become involved in residents’ activities in the village as a volunteer, visiting and supporting older residents living in Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility.   She’s happy to put her hand up to help because that was the way she was brought up and it is how she and husband Barry reared their children. Like many parents they became involved in their children’s interests.  In 1998 Vera joined the Greensborough Evening View, which supports the Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

The 80 member Greensborough View Club meets monthly to raise funds for the Smith Family program which offers scholarships to disadvantaged children.

“It is a terrific organisation that provides small scholarships for students to cover the costs of school uniforms, books, bags, and other education necessities. The club currently sponsors five school aged students”.

Soon after arriving in the village she volunteered at Liscombe House’s happy hour and assists with bingo on Monday afternoons.

“I enjoy spending time with the older residents who are in care, you realise how important it is to them to have human contact with others.   I have shared many stories and photographs of overseas holidays, the latest being Vietnam and Cambodia.   It isn’t hard to make a difference to their daily lives”, she said.

Vera’s life outside the Leith Park village is a busy one with lawn bowls twice a week and water aerobics three times a week.  She and her husband are very happy they made the move to Leith Park in 2015 and they do not regret the decision. “We wouldn’t ask for one day back”.

“I rang Leith Park looking for a place for my mother and ended up putting our name down”.  It was 12 years before they took up an offer of a unit.

While the downsizing was a challenge, she has room for her sewing machine, hobbies and keyboard.   Her husband Barry was instrumental in resurrecting the Men’s Shed, which is now enjoyed by several other residents. The group is growing, all enjoying the company and what the shed offers.

Vera is on the Activities Committee and along with Barry, on the Resident’s Committee.  She, Barry and another Committee member helped organise the time capsule that was buried as part of the recent 150th anniversary celebrations.   She hopes the laminated photos and other contents it contains will give future generations a sense of the life and energy of Leith Park and Melbourne in 2019.  But that’s for someone else to think about in the year 2069.


Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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