Still volunteering at 92!

On International Volunteer Day we're shining a light on the important role volunteers play in responding to challenges facing the world.

The theme of this year is solidarity through volunteering. And never has volunteering been more important - especially given how negatively it has been impacted by COVID-19. Now is the time to invest and commit to reinvigorating volunteering.

And one volunteer who needs no reinvigorating is 92-year-old Gwen Brook, who is never happier and more purposeful than when massaging residents' hands and feet at Uniting AgeWell Rosetta Community Strathglen.

Gwen lives in Uniting AgeWell's Strathglen Mews independent living village just opposite the age care facility, which makes nipping over for her volunteer duties very easy.

She also acts as a buddy with one-on-one visits to newcomers for the first week to help them settle in.

"I firmly believe that everyone needs a hug, a good ear and a hand in life," says Gwen. "You get out of life what you put into it, and if I can get a smile from the residents or see their eyes light up, that's wonderful!"

Gwen started volunteering at Uniting AgeWell nine years ago, and stumbled into the role quite by accident.

She used to visit her mother, who was in Uniting AgeWell Rosetta Community Strathaven, and bring along her pink bag of tricks containing oils and lotions, to massage her Mum's hands, face and feet.

"Soon a queue used to form up outside Mum's room," she laughs. "Lots of people, men and women, wanted me to do their feet too. So I did!"

Gwen is no stranger to world of podiatry. She was a member of the Northern Suburbs Auxillary for 49 years, including a long stint as its president, and the group raised money to buy podiatry equipment for the Royal Hobart Hospital.

During her busy life, the great-grandmother worked as a wedding dressmaker and also decorated wedding cakes. She also made curtains and worked in retail.

There are many volunteering opportunities with Uniting AgeWell.

Check out our volunteering opportunities