Support groupsVolunteering

Balwyn Evergreen Centre

A call for volunteers to combat social isolation amongst seniors

Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Balwyn Evergreen Centre, a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected, is calling on Australian businesses to step up and actively involve their employees in the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS).

This vital initiative, funded by the Australian Federal Government, seeks to address the growing issue of social isolation among older Australians.

A call to action for businesses

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is urging businesses to actively involve their staff in the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS) by incorporating volunteer hours into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

By encouraging employees to dedicate just one hour every fortnight to volunteer, businesses can enhance their CSR efforts and play a crucial role in improving the wellbeing of older individuals. This initiative not only supports older adults but also fosters a more engaged, empathetic, and connected workforce, offering significant benefits to both the community and the company.

The value of volunteering

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO of Balwyn Evergreen Centre, says, ‘By engaging in volunteer activities, employees become socially connected to the organisation and the community. This connection amplifies the health and happiness of the workforce. Employees not only give back but also continue to develop crucial soft skills such as empathy, communication, and teamwork.’

Building connections and enhancing wellbeing

The ACVVS pairs trained volunteers with older individuals to provide companionship and support, directly aligning with Balwyn Evergreen’s mission to keep older people active, healthy and socially engaged.

Ms. Hogarth-Clarke says, ‘Social isolation can lead to poor mental and physical health outcomes. Regular visits help build meaningful connections, making a real difference in each other’s lives.’

Business benefits

Businesses that encourage their staff to volunteer through the ACVVS can expect to see several benefits:

Enhanced employee morale: volunteering boosts employee morale and job satisfaction, leading to a happier and more productive workforce.

Skill development: employees develop and refine soft skills, which are invaluable in the workplace.

Corporate altruism: companies that support volunteer programs enhance their community contributions and demonstrate a commitment to community wellbeing.

Join the movement

‘We are calling on businesses across Melbourne to support their employees in volunteering for the ACVVS. This program not only enriches the lives of older individuals but also brings joy and fulfillment to the volunteers. Together, we can combat social isolation and build a stronger, more connected community.’ Ms Hogarth-Clarke says.

Get involved

Businesses, friends, family members, and aged care providers are encouraged to reach out to Balwyn Evergreen Centre to learn more about the ACVVS.

For more information or to register interest as a volunteer, contact Balwyn Evergreen Centre at 9836 9681 or visit www.balwynevergreen.org.au/aged-care-volunteer-visitors-scheme.


Celebrating our volunteers

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is giving a big shout out to their 90-volunteer group this National Volunteers Week (20th – 27th May), as it celebrates this invaluable group of people who provide positive experiences to clients every day of the week with authenticity, friendship and joy.

According to Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO, Balwyn Evergreen Centre, volunteering at Evergreen makes a meaningful difference to people’s lives, through conversation and connection.

“Our volunteers are simply an amazing group of people who are there for our clients.  Whether it is driving clients to an outing, walking a client’s dog, having a cuppa with a resident at an aged care facility through the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme or supporting one of our many classes, our volunteers are the part of the fabric of our wonderful community,” Tina said.

“Our community is vibrant and healthy when care and support is focussed on our clients, and our volunteers are a pivotal part of that equation.

“Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and it is that diversity which makes our volunteer community truly special.  From university students, ex nurses to retirees, our volunteers are champions in what they do and what they give to our Evergreen community.” Tina added.

Raylene Golder, a 69-year-old volunteer at Evergreen, has been an integral part of the Senior Divas Program for the past six years.

Every fortnight, she supports Social Support Group Lead, Elise Walle, to bring together a lively group of twelve women who gather for friendship and conversation. Raylene’s commitment to the group is deeply rooted in her career in hospitals spanning four decades, including 25 years as a nurse.

Her passion for volunteering stems from her early retirement to care for her mother and a desire to find meaningful engagement. Raylene cherishes her role, finding joy in being around people and hearing their fascinating stories, like that of Ruth, a remarkable 102-year-old Diva.

As Raylene says, “I feel really privileged to be part of their lives; they have had such interesting experiences.” To Raylene, volunteering is about a genuine interest in people, the pleasure of helping out, and the satisfaction of knowing she has made a positive impact.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer,  please contact Balwyn Evergreen Centre on 9836 9681 or visit https://www.balwynevergreen.org.au


Call out for volunteer drivers

Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Balwyn Evergreen Centre, a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected, is urgently seeking volunteer drivers to help transport seniors in the City of Boroondara. The centre relies solely on the generous contribution of time and skills from volunteers to continue providing vital services.

Who we are

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is a cornerstone of the community, offering a range of exercise and social activities designed to support the well-being of older adults. Our vibrant community centre is a place where seniors can stay engaged, make new friends, and participate in activities that promote their physical and mental health.

The need

Our clients depend on volunteer drivers to safely bring them from their homes to the centre for essential services. We are currently experiencing an urgent need for volunteer transport drivers for weekday pickups (minivan or car, short shifts) and Tuesday bus outings (minivan 9.30 am-4.30 pm). Full training and ongoing support are provided.

How you can help

We are calling on the community to spread the word through your networks, including members, staff, friends, and relatives. Post our flyer on your notice boards or in your newsletters. Give us a shout-out at your meetings or gatherings.

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO Balwyn Evergreen Centre says, ‘Our volunteer drivers are the lifeline of our community. They ensure our seniors remain connected, active, and independent. We invite everyone to consider joining our team and making a real difference in the lives of our seniors.,

Volunteer spotlight: David Embury

David Embury became involved with Evergreen as a volunteer after seeing a request for drivers in a newsletter. With a passion for driving spanning 50 years and a background as a bus driver, David saw this as a perfect opportunity to give back to the community.

‘For me, volunteering is about filling my available time in a worthwhile way while helping the community and doing something I love. The interaction with a whole new range of people and knowing I am contributing to their well-being is incredibly fulfilling.’

David describes his typical day as a volunteer driver, from greeting clients at their homes and assisting them on and off the bus, to ensuring their walkers are securely stowed and helping with small tasks like checking their mail or bringing in their rubbish bins.

‘The support from Evergreen has been fantastic. They provide thorough training, including First Aid, and are always ready to help with any special needs of the clients. The camaraderie and friendly atmosphere make volunteering here a joy.’

David’s story highlights the profound impact volunteer drivers have on the community, enabling seniors to stay active and socially connected.

Join us:

By becoming a volunteer driver, you can experience the personal satisfaction of making a difference in someone’s life, while enjoying the sense of community and support that Balwyn Evergreen Centre offers.

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is located at 45 Talbot Ave, Balwyn. For more information and to volunteer, please use the contact form on our website at  www.balwynevergreen.org.au,


Line Dancing at Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Diane Falzon

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected. The Centre is launching a new line dancing class aimed at promoting fitness, community, and joy through dance.

Line dancing is a fantastic way for both men and women to stay active while enjoying the camaraderie of a group activity. Led by experienced instructor Joanne Campbell, the class will commence on 1 May and continue every fortnight thereafter. Each class will run for one hour from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Joanne Campbell, the performing arts teacher behind the program, and also an Evergreen volunteer, says, ‘Line dancing is not just about moving your feet; it’s about connecting with others, enjoying great music, and improving overall wellbeing, coordination, balance, cognitive function and fitness. I can’t wait to share the joy of dance with everyone at Balwyn Evergreen Centre.’

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO Balwyn Evergreen Centre, emphasised the importance of introducing activities like line dancing to the community. ‘We believe in providing opportunities for our clients to stay physically and mentally active, while fostering a sense of belonging. Line dancing perfectly aligns with our mission of promoting holistic wellbeing and social inclusion. It’s an opportunity to laugh, move, and connect with others in a way that lifts the spirit and for our clients to simply have fun.’

For new student, Audrey, 88, this will be her first lesson in line dancing, and she simply cannot wait. ‘I fondly recall my brief encounter with line dancing over 25 years ago, a moment that left me captivated and intrigued. I look forward to stretching my legs, enjoying some brain-boosting fun, and immersing myself in the diverse melodies that I adore. I love all sorts of music and the opportunity to meet new friendly faces along the way.’

The benefits of line dancing extend far beyond just exercise. It provides a platform for social interaction, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially in older adults. The rhythmic movements and uplifting music also contribute to stress reduction and overall mental wellbeing.

To encourage participation, Balwyn Evergreen Centre is offering the first class for free. Subsequent sessions are priced at $15 for those approved under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and $19 for non-assessed individuals. There are no up-front term fees; Evergreen runs on a simple pay-as-you-go system, ensuring accessibility for all interested participants.

Don’t miss this opportunity to pull on your cowboy boots, meet new friends, and reap the benefits of line dancing at Balwyn Evergreen Centre. Join us on 1 May to kick off this exciting new journey towards health and happiness.

For more information or to register, visit https://www.balwynevergreen.org.au/

 

Photo from left to right: Audrey Eastgate, Joan Burnside and Fran Toussaint