The Canberra Times

How volunteers make the big differenceAdvertising Feature

Volunteers offer important emotional, social and spiritual support to residents. Photos: Supplied

In recognition of National Volunteer Week (May 16 - 20), Warrigal is celebrating the amazing contribution of their volunteers, and thanking them for the essential nature of their work in owning and governing the organisation.

Winning National Provider of the Year in 2021, Warrigal is an award-winning, for-purpose community-owned organisation.

Operating 12 aged care homes across NSW and the ACT, Warrigal offers home services, retirement lifestyle villages and social support, and has about 400 volunteers working across these locations at every level.

Volunteers offer important emotional, social and spiritual support to residents and customers at Warrigal.

From sitting down for a cup of tea and good conversation, to listening to music, playing cards, or any leisure activity of the resident's choice, volunteers at Warrigal are an integral part of every care home.

"Warrigal was started by volunteers more than 50 years ago, and still to this day they are essential to what we do," said Warrigal CEO, Mark Sewell.

"They play such important roles within our organisation and affect Warrigal at every level, including our company members, all of our board, our advisory group, as well as on the frontline in every service at every location.

"The support they provide to Warrigal residents, customers and staff is so valued, and we truly thank them for the commitment they show older people in our community every day."

The contribution of Warrigal's frontline volunteers is so essential to Warrigal and their residents, as they play the role of a friendly visitor rather than a care staff member.

While Warrigal staff members do provide emotional and social support, their time is shared amongst the clinical needs of residents, whereas a volunteer is there purely to spend quality time with the older people.

This quality time boosts the morale and mood of residents, reducing isolation, stress and depression.

Warrigal volunteer coordinator, Michelle Chate explained how important this connection is.

"Our volunteers form deep and meaningful relationships with our residents, staff and families, and allow staff to provide a whole range of activities that meet the social, emotional and spiritual needs of residents," Michelle said.

"We are so thankful for their time, passion and dedication, which continues to allow older people to live great lives."

Though it's not just the residents, customers and staff who reap the benefits of the volunteer experience, because the volunteers themselves gain a deep sense of purpose and fulfilment from their role, directly seeing the positive impact they are making to the lives of older people.

Because of this, Warrigal's volunteers often stay helping for many years within the care homes, as they acknowledge the positive impact it has on their own lives.

Volunteers are always welcome at any Warrigal in NSW and the ACT. To find out more email volunteering@warrigal.com.au