Volunteering brings valuable connection

28 July 2017

People volunteer in many different ways at Presbyterian Support Otago. One of the programmes run by Presbyterian Support Otago is Visiting Volunteers.

Enliven Visiting Volunteers visit older people in their homes for a chat over a cup of tea, to play a game of cards, help with shopping, or share an outing. The volunteers provide regular, ongoing contact and good company for those who live alone. They often provide a link to the community for those who are not able to get out of their homes.

Jeff Pettis (pictured above on left) is a volunteer in Dunedin. After spending time with Bert, who passed away, Jeff met Laurie (above right) a few years ago. Jeff and Laurie continue to get together for a couple of hours each Friday afternoon.

Every fortnight Jeff and Laurie attend the Dunedin Aphasia Support Group together. On the alternative weeks, time together is spent going out for a coffee, shopping and just enjoying a visit to the city. Laurie’s mum, Margaret, also joins them sometimes.

Jeff explains that volunteering has benefits for himself and Laurie. “The idea of volunteer visiting came up in conversation with someone a few years ago. I live alone and can isolate myself, so this gets me involved in something other than myself. Sometimes I feel like it helps me more than them.”   

“I'd recommend volunteering to anyone, especially if you're struggling to get back into the workforce, or aren't able to work in a paid job. Being a Visiting Volunteer helped me when I didn't have a job, as it gave me a routine. It helped me feel normal and made it easier to make that transition back into working.”

Judy Hayes, Visiting Volunteer Coordinator, said, “Many clients tell us that contact with their volunteer is a highlight of their week. We are currently looking for male volunteers in Dunedin and Mosgiel, as we have a number of male clients that we can only support with more volunteers on board.”

Judy is keen to hear from anyone else who is interested in becoming part of the volunteer team.

“It’s fantastic having people like Jeff involved as volunteers. We will work with you to make sure that you become connect with someone who is right for you.”

Contact Judy for more information about Visitng Volunteers on 03 477 7115.