Have you ever considered volunteering, but fear you may be too time-poor or don’t have the right skills to make a difference? If you have just an hour a week to spare and would enjoy socialising with a new friend – you could be the perfect candidate for a new volunteering program in south-east Queensland.
St Vincent’s Care Services, one of Australia’s largest Catholic aged care providers, is launching its LinkAGE volunteering program in Queensland this month, and is seeking participants to spend time with a resident at one of their aged care or retirement living communities.
With a particular focus on supporting residents who may be socially isolated or have limited mobility, sight or hearing impairments, LinkAGE works to foster ongoing companionship, support and friendship between the resident and volunteer. The LinkAGE program has been operating in New South Wales since 1999.
LinkAGE visits are especially beneficial to residents who might have few family visitors, but even residents with regular family visitors can benefit from seeing a new face and developing a new friendship.
St Vincent’s Care Services CEO John Leahy said volunteers have long been an essential and cherished part of the organisation.
“Our volunteers really are the lifeblood of our organisation, they allow us to provide additional programs, projects and increased social interaction for our residents, and they strengthen links to our communities.”
“We take a holistic approach in how we support and care for our residents and clients, and our volunteers play an invaluable role in achieving this by engaging in activities with our residents, and supporting our staff.
People enjoy volunteering with St Vincent’s because of the direct interaction with our residents, they can see they are making a difference in someone’s life, and it contributes to the positive, home-like environment at each of our communities,” Mr Leahy said.
LinkAGE volunteers develop ongoing friendships with the residents and gain satisfaction from seeing the pleasure their visits bring. Volunteers gain new skills and experience in the area of aged care, and some have gained employment after completing the course and volunteering. LinkAGE volunteering opportunities currently exist at St Vincent’s Care Services facilities in Bardon, Enoggera, Gympie, Kangaroo Point, Mitchelton, Toowoomba, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
Participants in the LinkAGE program undertake a comprehensive 12 hour course conducted by qualified trainers, at no cost. Participants are expected to apply to become volunteers at the end of the course and commit to one hour a week spending time with their resident companion through chatting, reading, playing games, letter writing or any other activities that the resident might enjoy. Ongoing support from facility staff and volunteer co-ordinators is also provided.
The next LinkAGE training course is being held over two days on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 July in Bowen Hills. For more information or to register your interest email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 778 767.