DURING National Volunteer Week the Southern NSW Local Health District is saluting one of the pillars of local health – the volunteers.
“Volunteers are a precious resource and one which we in the local health district could not do without,” chief executive Dr Max Alexander said.
Approximately 650 people give their skills and time to the SNSWLHD health facilities, patients and the wider community without seeking financial reward or special praise.
Dr Alexander said the selfless commitment and efforts of these volunteers are already acknowledged and recognised through internal health district celebrations and awards.
“However, the celebration of National Volunteer Week offers the opportunity go public in recognising the efforts of the individuals who raise funds or provide their skills and labour,” he said.
“It’s fitting that our volunteers be publicly recognised for their dedication, passion and skill.
“They embody the best qualities in our community, and they’re a role model for others.”
The variety of tasks that volunteers take on is remarkable.
They include auxiliary workers, tai chi and exercise leaders, support for oncology patients, spiritual and pastoral care, running kiosks and stalls, the Pink Ladies (and men), general hospital activities, serving on community consultative committees or as consumer representatives, transport drivers, general administrators and caring for people with dementia.
Dr Alexander said volunteering also has broad social benefits.
“For young people, volunteering can lead to new experiences and contact with new people, beyond networks of family or school.
“For older people, volunteering keeps them in contact with the community, affording them a sense of purpose that may be missing after leaving the workforce.
“Volunteers of all ages enjoy benefits to their self-esteem and their health, as well knowing that they have made a difference to the health and wellbeing of others.
“They are to be commended,” Dr Alexander said.