Drive to help out

Former limousine chauffeur Jamie Bessell is right on track when it comes to giving back to the community.

He’s a volunteer at Uniting AgeWell’s Grampians Community Transport service which provides transport assistance for older people living in Ararat, Ballarat and surrounding areas.

And during National Volunteer Week, it’s time to give a V-8 engine sized shout out to all the volunteers, like Jamie, for their endless work and tireless energy in enriching the lives of others.

The theme for this year is The Change Makers which celebrates the power to drive change and ensure volunteering is inclusive of all members of the Australian community.

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly says, “this theme rings true for us, where inclusion is a core value underpinning everything we do. With a long history of volunteer support, Uniting AgeWell’s services have grown and flourished; a vital contribution we recognise and appreciate each and every day.”

The Uniting AgeWell community transport service is delivered by volunteers who drive a fleet of six cars and a bus. Ray Chamberlain runs the service which has been going for over 17 years and is a trusted transport provider for older people in the area.

“We don’t aim to replace local buses or taxi services,” explains Ray. “This service provides a means of travel for people who aren’t able to access public transport.”

Jamie, 65, is delighted to be helping out. “I enjoy driving people around to doctors’ appointments or social outings and it’s great to chat to them.”

Jamie, who lives on a five acre lifestyle block in Haddon, west of Ballarat, says being purposeful and busy during his retirement keeps him on top of his game.

Uniting AgeWell also has a social connections program in the area which is led by volunteers. It provides meaningful support through a range of activities including local group outings, special interest groups, one-on-one visits, phone connectedness and centre-based activities.

“Whether it’s chatting over a cuppa at someone’s home, learning a new hobby together or getting out and about in the community to do something fun, we have an opportunity for everyone,” says Lisa Robertson, Uniting AgeWell’s Social Connections Team Leader in North West and Grampians.

There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available at Uniting AgeWell.

Click the link below or call 13 93 75 to see how you too can enrich the lives of older people – and your own!

Learn more about volunteering at Uniting AgeWell