The Volunteers Services team at Northern Health is responsible for coordinating volunteer support across Northern Hospital Epping, Bundoora Centre, Broadmeadows Hospital and Craigieburn Centre.
There are three staff members working across Northern Health; Henni Wade, Manager Volunteer Services, based at the Northern Hospital Epping, Kim Berger, Volunteer Coordinator at Broadmeadows Hospital and Craigeburn Centre and Natalie Carroll, Volunteer Coordinator at Bundoora Centre.
The team conduct induction, training, and ongoing management, support and recognition for the volunteers. They also work in partnership with Northern Health Foundation, helping to coordinate fundraising and engagement activities.
Volunteering Australia’s National Standards for Volunteer Involvement are used as a guide to manage the program, and the guidelines provide a framework with eight standards that address the key areas of volunteer involvement.
Prior to COVID-19, the team had over 300 volunteers. Currently, there are 185 volunteers that provide support to various departments within Northern Health.
“For us, it is not so much about the actual numbers of volunteers, it is about the impact they make,” says Volunteer Services Manager, Henni Wade.
“This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Week and we have 27 volunteers reaching milestone years of service. Two of these are celebrating 20 years and a further two are celebrating 25 years.”
2023 also marks 50 years of the Busy Fingers Auxiliary at Bundoora. Current Busy Fingers President Kerry Wall, along with her parents have clocked up over 120 years of service with the Auxiliary.
“Volunteering provides an opportunity to be involved in activities, reflecting interests and skills. Meaningful activity in turn, promotes a sense of belonging and general wellbeing. For others, volunteering can be a way to develop skills, potential pathways to employment, or a way to contribute existing skills for the common good. It can also be a great outlet to just get out of the house for a change of scenery,” says Henni.
The volunteers support Northern Health in many ways, including wayfinding support for patients and visitors, helping behind the scenes, assisting with fundraising and a variety of administration tasks for many areas of the hospital.
Volunteers also cuddle babies, help in the simulation space, transport patients from home to hospital for appointments and provide face to face visiting in Palliative Care and Aged Care Facilities. Volunteers also provide virtual visiting through How-R-U telephone support program.
The Consumer Participation team also benefit from volunteer involvement, with volunteers giving their time to sit on Northern Health committees, working groups, focus groups and projects.
In 2023, the team are excited about rebuilding the volunteer program to pre-pandemic numbers.
“Reinstating volunteer fundraising activities is also exciting. The volunteer fundraising has been put on hold due to temporarily vacating the Foundation Office in the front foyer, but in six weeks, we hope to return our space,” says Henni.
In the months prior to relocation, their small retail shop was bringing in around $1,500 a month from sales. The majority of the items for sale are hand-crafted by Northern Health volunteers and from local community groups. Money raised goes directly to the Foundation.
“The volunteers are proud to see their contributions have a four-fold impact. The first being the volunteers feel their skills in crafting are valuable, the items they make will bring a smile to somebody’s day and they are raising money for the Foundation. This money will then go towards a piece of equipment that many of our patients will benefit from,” she adds.
If you would like to discuss volunteer support in your area, please contact the Volunteer Services Team on email@example.com or phone 8405 8971. Click here to read the Volunteer Reflection Booklet 2023.
Thank you to our volunteers for all your support and dedication!
Pictured in featured image (L-R): Henni Wade, Volunteers Services Manager with volunteers Brian Hoctor, Tama Kanasaby, Anuki Manamperi, Julie Phillips and Eden Galea.