Volunteer Walking Companions
If you have time to spare and would like to make a difference to the lives of older people in your community then we would love to hear from you.
Our Walking Companions take older people out in their community to enjoy fresh air, light exercise and companionship. The emphasis is on walking so while a short trip in a car may be useful to get to a suitable walking area, a car is not essential.
Benefits for volunteers:
- Make a huge difference to the lives of others
- Improves your health and fitness
- Make new friends
- Discover new areas to walk
- Enjoy walking and conversation
- Have an hour or more to spare during the day each week
- Are ready to be part of a team and receive ongoing support and training
- And have a genuine empathy with older people
Then contact us to find out more! We’re especially looking for volunteers from the Porirua area currently, as well as the Wellington area.
Become an Accredited Volunteer Visitor
Do you have:
- An interest in and empathy with older people
- A genuine desire to offer friendship and companionship
- Good communication skills, including being an active listener
- Tact, objectivity and maturity
- An interest in community service
- Respect for confidentiality
- Cultural sensitivity, awareness and acceptance of difference
- Willingness to undertake the role an accredited visitor as an ongoing commitment and to complete accreditation requirements?
If the answer is yes, then contact us to enquire about becoming a visitor for an older person in your local area.
We particularly need people who are available from 10am to 4pm during week days.
SAY Go helpers
Volunteers are also needed to help our SayGo instructors with class set-up, measurement and observation. This does not have to be a regular commitment as we will accept help based on when you are available. We prefer people who have attended classes and have an understanding of the class’s objectives.
SAY Go classes are run by peer leaders after the first 10 weeks. We encourage class members to volunteer for this role during this time. Training and ongoing support is provided.
Contact us or call 04 499 6648 for more information on volunteering for us.
Jan and Rosie
In August we visited Accredited Visitor Service client and artist, Jan Hill and her volunteer visitor, Rosie Morrison. Jan and Rosie kindly agreed to be subjects for a photo shoot for us.
When Jan’s sister recommended the Accredited Visitor Service to her she didn’t think twice about signing up. She says, ‘I’ve been creative all my life but recently I’ve been struggling to get to my art group because of my hip. The loneliness can be overpowering,’ she explains, ‘and I rely on my friend.’
We’re sipping coffee with Jan in her living room, surrounded by paintings, many of which are her own. They’re beautiful and clearly a considerable amount of time has gone into developing her talent. Rosie is holding a painting of a rose which Jan painted for her after she attained a graduate intern position with the ambulance service. Their friendship is clearly important to both of them. Rosie agrees, ‘It’s definitely beneficial for both sides. No-one else shouts ‘I love you’ when I leave!’
Rosie volunteered after reading research on the effect of loneliness on the elderly. She says she had the skills and the time to help. Now she loves her visits, describing them as ‘an hour when time slows down a bit – a little oasis in a busy day.’ Listening to Jan talk about her childhood during the depression years has also made her realize how lucky we are today.
Jan was quite clear about what sort of visitor she wanted, ‘I really wanted a young person. Rosie brings back memories of having a young family and I love following what she’s doing. I look on her like a granddaughter,’ which is perfect for Rosie who doesn’t have a grandmother. Jan may be in her nineties now but the sparkle is still there. ‘Scooters are a problem,’ she says, ‘but I tell you what… I’d like to have a go!’
We’d like to thank Jan and Rosie for allowing us to photograph them and our photographer Steve Montgomery for donating his time and skills.
With a background in education and describing herself as a ‘natural organiser’ Lee has clearly enjoyed the challenge of growing one of Wellington’s first classes into a thriving community group. However it hasn’t all been easy. Lee has diabetes which she manages with diet and exercise. She says, ‘like everyone else there are some days I’d rather not bother but everyone offers to help out which encourages me to keep going. That and the ‘thank yous’ which mean so much.’
The exercises are designed to improve strength and balance and seeing the results is also immensely rewarding. Lee says, ‘Our participants have noticed a huge improvement in their physical wellbeing which they enjoy talking about. The social side is really important too, we have a great team and there is plenty of fun to be had!’
When asked what she’d say to someone considering volunteering, Lee says, ‘you don’t have to be a teacher like me, you just need to be confident with people and sensitive to each person’s needs.’ She says the classes attract a lot of people who are less able so it’s important to keep an eye on everyone and give extra guidance where needed. Lee has a team of peer-leaders who help with the class and it means there’s always someone to run the class if she can’t make it.
Lee feels she has learnt a lot after nearly 18 months of classes and is happy to share her knowledge with anyone new to, or considering, peer-leadership. If you would like to talk to Lee please let Ann know.