BlueCare volunteers vital to values and mission

February 13, 2024
February 12, 2024

Volunteers have been part of BlueCare since the very beginning 70 years ago and have been making outstanding contributions ever since.

BlueCare Group Executive Aged Care and Community Services Cathy Thomas says our volunteers play an integral role in living out our values and mission.

“Every day they dedicate their time to support our residents and clients’ social and emotional well-being and enable them to live life in all its fullness,” Cathy says.

“Over the years, our volunteers helped create the BlueCare we know today, raising the money to hire nurses, buy the buildings, buy equipment, and generally create a service the community desperately needed,” she says.

“Without volunteers, we would be a very different organisation today. The people who need us would not get anywhere near the care and service we can offer without volunteers.”

BlueCare is proudly part of UnitingCare, whose 2023 Volunteer Impact Report shows there were 557 volunteers gifting their time across our aged care and community services.

BlueCare has 46 residential aged care homes and a network of more than 100 local, dedicated neighbourhood teams across Queensland, where our versatile volunteers help others enjoy the things they love to do, would like to try, or enjoy the simple pleasure of social connection.

They could be helping someone learn how to use a smart device, call the bingo numbers, read a book, play the piano, share a cuppa, sing, dance, help in the office, tend the gardens, cook together, drive clients and residents to medical appointments, chat in a first language, or lead a walking group.

Grevillea Gardens volunteers a godsend

One such dedicated group volunteers at BlueCare Gympie Grevillea Gardens Aged Care Facility, and were finalists for the Changing Lives, Theirs Included Volunteer Award at UnitingCare’s 2023 Full Circle and Reconciliation Awards.

Between them, the seven volunteers tally 75 years of voluntary work at BlueCare Gympie. Volunteer Carryl Watt says: “You get some people who have had a really bad day, and to get them to sit and have a cup of tea and have a smile is worth every bit.”

Corporate volunteers step into frontline

In addition to our regular BlueCare volunteers, UnitingCare corporate staff also put their hands up to help out in a frontline service, through our corporate volunteering initiative.

BlueCare and Corporate Volunteer Experience Lead Jonathon Cowley says not only is this a win for the service and the organisation, it’s a win for the staff member, as well.

“It’s really realigning us to why we started with UnitingCare,” Jonathon says.

“A lot of staff join because of the values of the organisation,” he says.

“When you go on the frontline and you deliver that service, see our residents and spend time with them, it re-ingrains our alignment and brings people back to ‘I am adding value in the world’.”

Corporate volunteering efforts might include helping out with the gardening, or setting up Christmas decorations – “anywhere where we can send typically a mass of people to really go and make a difference”, Jonathon says.

And it’s not just UnitingCare staff, but other businesses who want to make a difference. For example, last year a team of volunteers from Deloitte visited BlueCare Elanora to vacuum and wash all their cars; while a team of volunteers from Toyota helped celebrate National Tree Day by planting trees at BlueCare Kenmore.

Volunteer co-ordinators roll out welcome mat

And then there are the staff who co-ordinate and supervise our volunteers throughout the state.

Group Executive Cathy Thomas says their work is appreciated and valued.

“These people make sure our volunteers have a fantastic experience and can contribute so much to the people we serve,” Cathy says.

“How they balance all of their priorities and create the best, most welcoming and most caring environment for our volunteers cannot be overstated,” she says.

“The shared passion, dedication, commitment and compassion of staff and volunteers working together to bring happiness and joy to each person’s day, to bring their day to life, is undoubtedly living ‘life in all its fullness’. What an amazing volunteer impact!”

If you would like to volunteer at BlueCare, and change lives, yours included, visit our Volunteer page. BlueCare is proudly part of the UnitingCare family – read more volunteer stories in UnitingCare’s Volunteer Impact Report.

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