Happiness on the menu

Graeme and Joy Thompson love spending their days ladling out hot meals – and happiness.

And they thoroughly enjoyed helping staff organise dancing, light exercises, bocce, balloon tennis, card games, arts and crafts and more for older people at Uniting AgeWell’s Linlithgow Centre in Ivanhoe.

It’s National Volunteer Week, (May 15-21) and time to give a round of applause to all our volunteers, like Graeme and Joy, 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 couple has been volunteering for the last five years for the social connections program, which started 25 years ago, and say it’s wonderful to be doing something meaningful during their retirement.

And their involvement all stemmed back to a call put out for volunteers at the Uniting Church they attend. All his life Graeme has held significant volunteer roles within the church, including being chairperson of the congregation, and so when he heard the call to action, he was delighted to step forward.

The couple finds their own particular interests resonate well with the older clients: Joy loves flower arranging and Graeme enjoys sharing presentations of his holidays, like his journey to the Nullabor. And with clients from all four corners of the world, chef Nicki Roumpos is spoilt for choice in whipping up theme meals. The most recent being Italian dishes, with lasagna and minestrone soup on the menu.

“There’s so much to get out of volunteering. It’s very rewarding,” says Graeme. “The participants love being here at the Centre. There’s a great bond among them and lots of affection. We love the cultural mix that we see at the Thursday program. And the staff are so enthusiastic.”

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

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

Find out more about volunteering with Uniting AgeWell