International Week: Volunteers the pulse of health

During International Volunteers Week, from May 8, the Southern NSW Local Health District acknowledged and praised the hard work done by the unpaid members of the Health District – its volunteers.

Volunteers and staff from Southern NSW Local Health District. Photo: supplied

Volunteers and staff from Southern NSW Local Health District. Photo: supplied

Southern NSW Local Health District’s acting chief executive, Michelle Arrowsmith, said the selfless commitment and efforts of these volunteers were recognised during the year through internal health district celebrations and awards.

“[The] celebration of International Volunteer Day offers us the opportunity to publicly recognise the outstanding effort of all the individuals who raise funds or provide their skills and labour in a multitude of roles that support the local health service,” Ms Arrowsmith said.

“It’s fitting that 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.”

Variety of roles

Volunteers within the Health District undertake such roles as:

  • auxiliary workers
  • tai chi and exercise leaders
  • support for oncology patients
  • pastoral care
  • kiosks and stalls
  • ‘pink ladies’ and ‘pink men’
  • general hospital activities
  • community consultative committees
  • consumer representatives for committees
  • transport drivers, and
  • administration.

Approximately 650 people give their skills and time to the District’s health facilities, patients and the wider community without seeking financial reward, or special praise.

Social benefits

Ms Arrowsmith said volunteering had broad social benefits, building trust and interaction between members of our community.

Volunteers were a precious resource and one which the Health District could not do without, Ms Arrowsmith said.

“It is an investment in our community, making a positive difference to our delivery of health care in country towns and regions,” Ms Arrowsmith said.

“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 experience benefits to their self-esteem and their health, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that they have made a difference to the health and wellbeing of others living in the Southern NSW Local Health District.

“They are to be commended.”