A call has gone out for community volunteers to offer their time and friendship to help people with life-threatening illnesses.
Goulburn Valley Hospice Care executive manager Carmel Smith said Shepparton people wanting to make a difference could apply to be part of the Patient Care Team.
She said hospice volunteers came from all walks of life and were all ages.
‘‘Some are drawn to the work because they have experienced the work of GV Hospice in their own lives and want to give back.
‘‘Others have been involved in ‘caring professions’ and have retired — but are still wanting to help,’’ Ms Smith said.
Hospice volunteer Jenny Sim is a retired nurse and farmer who was inspired to offer help after a close friend died of cancer at 36 years old.
‘‘She was so calm and organised because of the hospice care she received. In the end, she was consoling me,’’ Ms Sim said.
Fellow volunteer Rod Kelley has been volunteering with hospice care ever since his wife died 12 years ago.
A retired jeweller, Mr Kelley said he had always felt an empathy for people who were struggling.
‘‘There’s a fellow I visit once a week — we have an ice-cream and a chat. He’s a wonderful bloke,’’ Mr Kelley said.
He also helps the families of those who have passed away.
‘‘People who are left behind can struggle too. I ring them up and call in sometimes — just for a chat,’’ he said.
Both said they spent about two hours a week visiting people.
‘‘You do feel like you’re putting back,’’ Ms Smith said.
Hospice volunteer co-ordinator Tanya Holt said the team was now recruiting new members willing to donate their time to a worthy cause.
‘‘In particular, it would be great to get some more men involved in the program,’’ Ms Holt said.
She said volunteers were selected for their warmth, understanding, emotional maturity, acceptance of others and ability to respect confidentiality.
New team members are required to undertake a training course. The next course starts tomorrow, from 9.30am until 3pm, and will run over five consecutive Wednesdays.
For more information or an application form, phone Ms Holt on 58220068 (Mondays or Wednesdays) or email volunteers@hospice. shepparton.net.au