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Army of volunteers provide care boost

Volunteers are worth $7 billion to the Victorian economy, but to Uniting AgeWell they are priceless.  We could not provide the exceptional level of care our clients enjoy every day without our loyal and devoted army of volunteers.

This National Volunteer Week, from 21 to 27 May, Uniting AgeWell will celebrate some 700 volunteers, who selflessly give their time to enrich the lives of others.

Volunteers provide friendship to clients and residents, support lifestyle activities, conduct home visits, carry out transport assistance, provide administration support and even do the gardening.

Dawn Pietsch has dedicated four years to creating and maintaining gardens at Uniting AgeWell’s Strathdon Community in Forest Hill.

Her compassion for people who can no longer garden for themselves, along with her love of horticulture, has motivated Dawn to turn soil for many seniors.

“I started down in the independent living units, tidying that up, and then moved to the McGarvie Garden – just a weed patch with a few natives in the dirt,” she said.

Dawn got to work, planting a beautiful cottage garden with geraniums, daphnes, daisies, irises, roses, aquilegia (granny's bonnets), and seaside daisies.

Before long, Dawn was arriving to cuttings and plants left at the side gate by families and clients.  When residents pass away, their families often buy roses for Dawn to plant in the McGarvie Garden in their memory.

Strathdon Lifestyle Coordinator Matt Daley said Dawn had transformed the garden to a magnificent area, which all residents and staff enjoyed.

While volunteering benefits organisations, it also benefits the individual.  It is a great way to meet new people, strengthen ties to the community and broaden support networks. 

Research has also found that volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer, while sustained volunteering is associated with better overall mental health.

Uniting AgeWell provides all volunteers with training and on-going management support, as well as coverage for Personal Accident, Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance.  Police checks apply for all volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering for Uniting AgeWell, please contact our People Services team on T: 1300 783 435.