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Dedicated volunteers provide companionship to older Australians via Community Visitor Scheme

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Leading Queensland community services organisation Be believes it’s never too late to make friends and is driving a companionship program to tackle the growing issue of loneliness in older adults.

Acting CEO Rosie Overfield says social support is at the heart of all Be services and the companionship program (Community Visitors Scheme) plays a key role in bringing people within the community together.

“This is something Be is really passionate about, we understand the value of companionship and proper engagement so we pair up one of our dedicated volunteers who then meet regularly with a client, either in their home or at a location of their choice,” she said.

“Whether it’s to share a cup of tea and a chat or a trip to the local café, or playing cards or enjoying the garden at home, these connections caringly formed do make a real difference.

“We see clients who participate in the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) benefit greatly in their general health and wellbeing.”

Be volunteers play an integral role in supporting CVS clients to feel connected and reduce instances of loneliness for older adults experiencing social isolation.

Since retiring as a support worker, volunteer Teresa Ganley felt drawn to reconnect and give back to the community and became involved with Be’s Community Visitors Scheme.

“I have been very blessed in the five years that I have been a volunteer in the CVS Program,” she said.

“I have had four different clients and they have all been such wonderful people.”

Undeterred by the COVID-19 period of increased social isolation, Teresa was able to go for walks with clients and plan future activities when it was safe to do so.

“Being a volunteer has allowed me to hear some really inspiring stories about how people have gone through great highs in their life and also really big lows and yet you see how in each case they have blossomed and grown and moved forward.

“I get a lot of joy from sharing people’s lives.”

Ms Overfield says accessing the Community Visitors Scheme is free thanks to funding from the Commonwealth Government.

“To be eligible to access the program, participants need to be on a waitlist or receiving services through a Home Care Package or living in a Residential Aged Care Facility,” she said.

“Be is committed to finding clients a kind, compassionate and engaging CVS volunteer that is willing to share like-minded activities,” she said.

Volunteers interested in creating new friendships and taking part in the Community Visitors Scheme should call Be on 1300 761 011 or email cvs@wearebe.org.au

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