Celebrating International Volunteer Day

Castlemaine Health celebrated International Volunteer Day by inviting its 117 strong crew of volunteers to enjoy a morning tea at Buda Historic Home.

This year, Castlemaine Health was honouring its pastoral care volunteers, many of whom have been volunteering at the hospital for more than 20 years, and some for more than 30 years.

Ian Fisher, Chief Executive Officer, was at the morning tea to thank volunteers for their dedication and commitment.

He said: “The health of an organisation is reflected in the strength of its volunteer numbers. Castlemaine Health has the honour of being one of only three hospitals in Victoria that’s received 100% positive patient feedback in the state-wide health services survey. Our volunteers are a huge part of that positive patient experience. We are extremely grateful to them.”

Castlemaine Health volunteers contribute an incredible 200+ hours every week across a variety of roles, ranging from visiting elderly residents to helping with activities, pet therapy, library service, walking groups and delivering the ‘lolly trolley’ in aged care. A new crew of volunteer drivers also recently took over the patient transport service (previously run by the Red Cross).

One patient in the rehabilitation ward said of the volunteers: “It’s just lovely to have someone that has time to sit and listen.”

Volunteers find the experience rewarding too: “The best thing about volunteering is the reward of making people happy. The Lolly Trolley is terrific as the people in aged care wait for us to come around and really are grateful for their goodies.”

Castlemaine Health would like to thank Buda Historic Home for kindly donating use of the function room for the International Volunteers Day morning tea.

Becoming a volunteer

New volunteers are always needed and welcome. However it’s important for those considering volunteering to consider how much time they can give.

Margaret Ollerton, who helps coordinate the volunteer program, said: “We try to match volunteers to roles that suit their interests and skills, and against what is available in the hospital and in aged care. We also try to match volunteers to patients and residents, so it does take time to get it right.”

All new hospital volunteers must complete a registration process that clarifies rights and responsibilities, undergo a police check and take part in volunteer induction training. This process helps ensure that legal and ethical obligations are met, and that the safety of volunteers, patients and residents are protected.

Free training is also made available to volunteers throughout the year, which is delivered jointly with Mt Alexander Shire Council, Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine District Community Health.

To find out more about volunteering at Castlemaine Health, visit www.castlemainehealth.org.au.

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