News & Events

Volunteering reconnects Michelle to Braeside Park

November 15, 2021

A woman smiles with an open book on a grey lounge

Serendipity struck when Michelle Stanton was looking to volunteer locally in Berwick.

“An advertisement looking for people to help Braeside Park residents write their life story jumped out at me,” she said.

Her grandmother lived at Braeside Park in the mid to late 1990s, her mother in law has just moved there into the village, and has now been joined by her sister in law’s mother

“It felt like the volunteering position was especially made for me,” Michelle said.

“When we first visited Braeside as a potential new home for my mother in law I felt such a warmth there and then when I saw the advertisement I knew it was going to be the right fit.”

The idea of the life stories appealed to Michelle who, when she started to think about it, realised that so many people have so many stories to tell and rarely do.

“The fact that life stories are wonderful keepsakes for those who participate and for their loved ones and further generations to follow is a bonus,” she said.

Now into working on the first life memoir, Michelle is discovering that it is a great way to let memories unfold.

“I wish now I had done one with my grandmother as she was born during the first world war and then was a nurse during the second world war. Her stories were interesting but I know she would have had so many more to tell by doing a life book,” Michelle said.

She has been a Berwick girl for most of her life, and her family are long-time residents of the town. Her mother and grandmother moved into the area when they arrived from England, a deliberate choice as it was very much like England at the time.

When she is not volunteering, Michelle works full time as an Executive Assistant to the Managing Director and Chief Operating Office of Officeworks. She has been working mostly working from home since the Covid outbreak in 2020.

She has struggled with being at home and not connecting face to face with family, friends and work colleagues.

“I hadn’t thought about working with older people until lockdown. Now, I can see how people living on their own (particularly older people) have become more isolated and especially those who are not confident with modern technology to keep them connected virtually,” Michelle said.

“I can’t even imagine what they went through but I hope that my efforts will make a difference.”




Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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