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Three Cheers for Volunteers

National Volunteer Week is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of volunteers right across Australia. This year, National Volunteer Week is celebrated between Monday 18 May and Sunday 24 May, with the theme “Changing Communities, Changing Lives”. In 2020, more than ever, volunteers have made an extraordinary difference to the lives of others.  During the bushfires, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have continued to step in and help others in their community. The Banksia community has always been blessed with people who have chosen to volunteer their time. At Banksia Lodge, for example, (when COVID-19 does not restrict activities) there are volunteers who provide manicures, read to residents, help with craft activities, assist with outings, and much more.  Some of the volunteers who help at Banksia Lodge live in the local area, while others are a little closer to home – they are residents of Banksia Village.

One of Brian Baker’s volunteer roles is to organise the roster for volunteer bus drivers. Banksia Village is a tight-knit community, with 121 independent living villas, two common centres, a gym, two libraries and two pools.  Within the Village are many retired people who contribute to changing the lives of others – they are truly valued volunteers. Village volunteers assist others in a huge variety of ways – and it’s important to recognise that volunteering can be both official and unofficial. Unofficial volunteering can be as simple as bringing in your neighbour’s mail, or watering their plants while they are away. Just a few examples of the types of volunteering that Banksia Village residents are involved in are listed below: Volunteering within the local community Serving on committees at local community groups and clubs

  • Helping transport people to medical appointments

  • Raising funds by selling raffle tickets or holding events

  • Helping out at the Botanic Gardens or Mogo Zoo

Volunteering within the Banksia community Serving on the Residents Committee, or Social Committee

  • Driving the Banksia Buses

  • Organising morning teas and happy hours

  • Being a Village Fire Warden

  • Offering to go shopping for those who are less mobile

  • Checking in on neighbours

  • Visiting with Banksia Lodge residents and helping with activities there

  • Providing transport for others in the village

Brian Baker has been a resident of Banksia Village for 6 years and has enjoyed volunteering throughout that time. He co-ordinates the rosters for volunteer bus drivers and drives the bus himself on a regular basis. He also purchases stock for the resident Happy Hour Bar. “It’s always been a pleasure to take my Banksia neighbours out to the shops in the bus” he said.  “It’s fun, and I love helping them on and off the bus and having a laugh or a sing-along on the journey.  I recommend volunteering to anyone – just remember to have plenty of patience and kindness” he added. Other residents who get a great deal of pleasure form volunteering include David and Dianne Johnson – who have lived at Banksia Village since 2015.  David is a member of both the Residents Committee and the Social Committee, a Fire Warden and is one of the Village bus drivers. He loves providing opportunities for fellow residents to socialise, including dinners at local restaurants (when possible).  The great joy of volunteering for David is in bringing enjoyment to others and seeing their responses. His advice to anyone considering becoming a volunteer is ‘Just go ahead and do it”.

David Johnson volunteers at Banksia Village in a variety of ways. Dianne Johnson’s volunteer activities include baking cakes and scones for the snooker group, and helping husband David to organise dinners at local restaurants. She is always happy to help out when needed. “It’s lovely to see the happy faces of those who come along” she said. “I also think it’s important to check on your neighbours and to help anyone, if you see that they need help”. Brian, David and Dianne are just three of many volunteers at Banksia Village and all were keen to list the names of others who contribute in so many ways.  They also made it clear that they do not volunteer for the thanks or the acknowledgement – they do it because it brings them pleasure. Banksia’s volunteers are truly valued and appreciated, and it is especially important to say “Thank You” for their outstanding service during National Volunteer Week.   The volunteers within the Banksia community are certainly making significant contributions to the lives of others and are a great match for this year’s National Volunteer Week theme “Changing Communities, Changing Lives”. Three Cheers to our Volunteers!

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