Recent statistics have revealed the proportion of Australians volunteering has declined since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic with close to 1 in 4 (24%) people now undertaking voluntary work, compared with 1 in 3 (36%) people in late 2019.
These figures are reflected among Suncare Community Service’s current volunteer team, which Acting Chief Executive Officer, Angela Massy said is in need of a boost as demand for the service continues to rise.
“Suncare Community Services currently has 5,260 customers throughout South East and Central Queensland, with more coming onboard every month,” Ms Massy said.
This Sunday (December 5) millions of people will be recognised in celebration of International Volunteers Day.
Suncare Volunteer John Ogino, is one of those people and has been volunteering his time with the not-for-profit organisation for almost a year.
John said the opportunity to volunteer with Suncare not only gives him the chance to work with people who are in need of company, but also learn skills which will aid him in the future.
“I’m currently studying Veterinary Science at university, so while Suncare might not be directly related to my degree, there are some overlaps as a large component of veterinary medicine is interacting and working with people towards a common understanding, so collaborative work is something that I really benefit from,” he said.
John currently visits Suncare customer, Ernest Tebby, once a fortnight, where the pair work on building model boats together.
“Ernest was a master builder before he retired, so he’s the project manager and directs me as to what we’re working on each visit,” John said.
“I love that building model boats offers a diversity of different challenges, which require different approaches.”
For Ernest, the companionship John is able to provide him with is invaluable.
“He comes into my workshop, sits down and away he goes,” Mr Tebby said.
“He can do all the fiddly things that I can’t do now, at least not how I used to be able to.”
More than 150 volunteers are the backbone of Suncare, accompanying customers on social outings and excursions, providing community transport services, assisting the Meals on Wheels team or visiting customers in their home to provide companionship.
“We are always looking for more people to join our amazing team of volunteers,” Ms Massy said.
“You don’t have to have copious amount of time each week, even an hour or two a fortnight can make the world of difference.”
Suncare is also seeking Support Workers in varying fields, from domestic assistance and personal care to home and garden maintenance.
If you’re interested in joining the Suncare family, please contact the organisation on 1800 786 227.
For more information on Suncare Community Services and the programs it provides, visit www.suncare.org.au.