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Meet the volunteer: Bron Hinwood-MacDougall

Volunteering to help out others often means reaped benefits for you too. At least that's what Bron thinks after volunteering with In Great Company for four months and forming some meaningful new relationships. 

When did you get involved with in Great Company?

I applied to volunteer with In Great Company about four months ago and was impressed with how quickly my application was processed and orientation was performed.

What attracted you to want to volunteer?

I felt that it would make me feel more connected to my community. My husband and I had been ‘semi’ residents of Port Macquarie for the previous three years as he completed his professional life, and we didn’t feel completely settled and connected to our residential address. I had some hours to spare as a result of Covid 19 limitations on my professional life and had begun a Cert 4 in Aged Care so ‘In Great Company’ seemed a perfect choice as a volunteer organisation.

What does your role as a volunteer involve?

I recently told our morning tea meeting group that I thought I had ‘the best gig’. I am a dog lover and I like to be physically active so when our regional volunteer coordinator, Brenda, contacted me about a possibility of taking a delightful local gentleman and his dogs for a beach walk, I was very excited. I also have phone contact with another lovely local lady whom I haven’t physically met, as a result of the NSW Covid lockdown, but we are patiently awaiting the moment we can see each other.

What motivates you to stay involved?

I am not sure why I am surprised by this, but I get back from these two elderly people every bit as much pleasure as I give them during our interactions by physical presence or by phone. I think it has been difficult for many people to feel connected during the Covid limitations, but it is such a joy to hear the excitement in the voice of the person I am interacting with as a volunteer, and my lovely new friends are so appreciative of any time and energy I offer them.

Of what contribution or achievement as a volunteer are you most proud?

I am proud of the fact that volunteering, particularly during Covid, has brought out my creative spirit. I have wanted to find ways that I could provide a ‘little something interesting’’, in the days of the elderly people I spend time with, so I was able to dust down the sewing machine and make a few fabric masks, bake a few cakes and biscuits and in this way, they learned a little about me, my skills and my pleasures.

Alan and I had a very special achievement before our current ‘lockdown’ as we contacted our local council about access to our ‘off leash dog beach’. Much to our delight we have been provided with a temporary timber rail which will make it easier to gain access to the beach. Alan is very committed to walking down a long staircase to get his dogs Madelyn and Cloe onto the beach for some fun.

 

                               Middle-aged woman sitting at a table by the water         Senior man in fedora and with crutch standing on outdoor stairs


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What is the most rewarding part of your volunteering role?

It isn’t any one thing. I found the right organisation to engage in a volunteering opportunity and my coordinator Brenda has matched me with the right clients, so it is a pleasure for us to come together. I find myself a little excited about the friendships that are developing, I love the time with Alan and his two beautiful spaniels, and I like that this experience has challenged my creativity. I think he is teaching me to relax and enjoy my world a little more… which is amazing!

What advice would you give someone who is interested in volunteering?

Consider whether you have the time and energy to be consistent before you make the commitment. Then find the right organisation and my guess is that if you are reading this, you already have! I check in with Brenda weekly and I find her support wonderful. She knows my clients, and she knows me. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to give a little of your time because the returns are plentiful!

Do you have a message to share?

Nothing specific but to say that a small amount of time allocated to volunteering has reaped so many personal rewards as you have read above.

If you'd like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior's life less lonely, you can do so here.

Young man and senior man fishing

Want to get involved?

See what being a volunteer with In Great Company is all about and how you could make a positive difference in someone's life, by signing up for our volunteer newsletter.