Our volunteers are an integral part of our service.
At Benalla Health we have more than 30 active volunteers working across different areas of the health service including community-based palliative care, the Day Activity Centre, Morrie Evans Wing and acute services.
Above: Gerri Oliver
Losing his wife to dementia in the Morrie Evans Wing at Benalla Health led Gerri Oliver into the path of volunteering.
The retired bus driver has gone back to the job he loves - driving the aged care bus for Benalla Health.
“My wife Rosemary passed away last year in May in the Morrie Evans Wing and the way they looked after her in the two months she was there and the way they looked after me was just wonderful,” he said.
“They made us so welcome and the treatment was so good.
“The day after she passed away, I went to collect her things and I said to the staff, ‘this is going to sound strange, but I am going to miss this place’.”
It was suggested to Gerri he could consider coming back as a volunteer.
“I pointed to the bus and said ‘the thing I would love to do is drive that bus’ being an ex bus driver.”
Coincidentally, Benalla Health was looking for a bus driver and Gerri has not looked back.
“I volunteer two days a week driving the bus and picking up the clients and then driving them home,” he said.
“I also drive the bus to activities and day trips as well as work in the day activities centre.”
Gerri said he would highly recommend volunteering with Benalla Health.
“I love it, I would work here five days a week if I could,” he said.
“It’s such a great team with great leaders and we really enjoy everything we do.”
Above: Volunteer Remo Ascenzo and Marg Frankland love volunteering.
One big happy family is how aged care volunteer Marg Frankland describes her involvement at Benalla Health.
It has been two years since Marg saw an advertisement calling for volunteers and she has never looked back.
“I volunteer each Wednesday and we have a group of 10 clients who come in and we have coffee, we go through the daily papers and chat about what is happening in Benalla and also around the world,” she said.
“We might do a spot of gardening and have our discussion groups.
“We also go to Bingo and on day trips and out for lunch.”
Marg said the program offered by Benalla Health was inclusive to all residents.
“Some of our aged care clients are in wheelchairs and some are more mobile, the program covers everyone,” she said.
“The bus can pick them up or they can make their own way.
“I have worked in aged care all my life and I find this such a rewarding experience volunteering each week.”
Marg said the feedback from clients at Benalla Health had been amazing.
“It really is one big happy family here,” she said.
“Everyone involved benefits from this program, from the volunteers to the clients, everyone is happy, and I absolutely love being part of it, I would recommend this to anyone.”
Benalla Health is fortunate to have an active auxiliary, raising funds to purchase and update equipment for the hospital.
If you would like to become a member, or require further information about the Auxiliary, please contact:
Barbara Jennings (03) 5762 1210 (President)
Helen Campbell (03) 5762 2961 (Secretary)
Sue Hutchens (03) 5762 5366 (Treasurer)