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Thanking our volunteers

UnitingCare West has over 450 volunteers who volunteer their time and skills across our vast range of programs.

National Volunteer week runs from 11-17 May and to raise awareness of the wonderful work of our volunteers, we have interviewed seven different people who contribute to our programs.

Their contribution, along with the contribution of all our volunteers, makes a vast difference to the amount of people we can assist every single day, from children to adults, from as far north as Merriwa, right down into WA’s south in Albany.

To assist our local community is a pleasure, but to do this work alongside our volunteers is a privilege. 

Jessie and Bev from Family Foundations Service

Bev and Jessie are a mother and daughter team volunteering in the kitchen at Family Foundations Service (FFS), where they cook for families who are currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

“We talked about how we wanted to volunteer and we decided to do it together,” said Jessie.

“I used to be a counsellor so I have worked a lot with people one-on-one. Now that I am retired it’s nice to give back in a different way, by working in the background and cooking for those who come into Family Foundations Service” said Bev.

“This is a great service, and homelessness is something that is such an issue so it’s nice to be involved and be able to give back. We have a great life so it’s really nice to give back,” she said.

Bethlyn from Rainbow 

“I’m Bethlyn, a retired nurse, so I have spent my life caring for people and have been a volunteer working with mainly disadvantaged people for over 30 years.  I currently volunteer with UCW in Community Connections with the Rainbow group in Como. We provide friendship and fellowship with fortnightly lunches for people who are socially isolated in the community,” said Bethlyn.

“Our community is time poor and many people are lonely and isolated so my volunteering provides support, friendship and a listening ear which makes a difference to people’s lives. Everyone deserves and needs friendship and volunteering provides extra help and attention to support clients and to give them hope.  Whilst volunteering I contribute to the community knowing that I am making a positive impact on someone – this is an uplifting and satisfying experience.”

“A happy community is when everyone works together.”

Wayne from Food Rescue 

Wayne drives one of Food Rescue’s vans where he collects fresh and perishable foods from supermarkets and markets and delivers it straight to charities around Perth.

Wayne is married to Yvonne and they have two adult children, Dan and Tess. Wayne lives in Cottesloe and loves the beach.

“WA has been very good to me and my family, a bit cliché but I wanted to give something back. I was in hospitality for many years and always hated seeing good food go to waste so Food Rescue is a good fit,” he said.

When asked what Wayne gets out of volunteering he said; “It’s probably the only thing I have ever done where everybody is pleased to see you. The food donors because they hate throwing perfectly good food in the bin and they feel good about where the food is going and the difference it is making.  The agencies and their clients are always pleased to see us for obvious reasons. And it is also good fun; I get to drive around in a nice van with my offsider Brian meeting wonderful people doing great things while Brian and I tell each other lies about how good we used to be at sport.”

Brenda from Community Options South 

Brenda volunteers her time every Friday with Community Options South.

Brenda enjoys working in her garden, visiting her children and grandchild in Margaret River.

“I volunteer because I like to be with the friends I have made at Community Options South and I like to help others,” she said.

“I enjoy seeing the participants enjoying themselves, the satisfaction of giving, and helping out when needed.”

Eddie from Men in Sheds 

(Eddie shaking hands with a participant after the successful construction of some shelves)

 Eddie volunteers with Men in Sheds in Girrawheen every Wednesday.

“I volunteer three days a week at UnitingCare West, helping people with disabilities. My area is safety; I iron words onto shirts or vests and sometimes work in other area like food packaging. They often have a BBQ or cake day where people are presented with awards. I have received four awards so far.”

“I started out as a participant with the program but as I was capable of doing projects on my own and helping the other participants with their projects I was asked to be a volunteer. I like to help people to achieve things.”

“Helping people achieve their goals and making them feel happy.” 

Jayden from Men in Sheds 

(Jayden helping with a small table)

Jayden also volunteers with Men in Sheds

“I’m interested in music and sports and volunteer at Men in Sheds in Girrawheen on Wednesday and Friday.”

“I volunteer because I have a brother with special needs and saw the opportunity to volunteer through picking him up and dropping him off at the program.”

"What I get out of volunteering is the opportunity to get out of the house and it gives me the opportunity to help participants with things they cannot do on their own.”

UnitingCare West would like to give a huge thank you to all of our volunteers, whatever role they play. To find out more about how you could support your community and UnitingCare West through volunteering, contact volunteers@unitingcarewest.org.au or visit http://www.unitingcarewest.org.au/make-a-difference/volunteering/