Natalie Wynn ended up at In Great Company by chance – but now, she could never go back to not visiting her senior friend, Layne, every week. Their relationship has blossomed, and Natalie says she’s so grateful she signed up.
When did you get involved with In Great Company?
I became a volunteer in May and have been visiting my friend Layne since then. They matched me with a client who lives nearby in my community, and who may share common interests.
What attracted you to the cause or why do you volunteer?
I originally signed up to support the flood victims and then received an email with information about volunteering for In Great Company. I had not heard of In Great Company before, and I wasn’t aware that this type of program existed. So, when
I learned that many of our senior generation were seeking companionship, I was keen to sign up.
I have a background in teaching students with a disability and am a strong advocate for inclusion. I understand how the world can exclude individuals who may not have a voice or the strength to share it. With changes in technology and the impact that
these changes have had on social opportunities and communication in the community, I understand how seniors can feel alone and like they are losing their independence. If I could help someone to stay connected with community and feel less alone,
What attracted you to In Great Company in particular?
I was unaware of this type of initiative until I received an email inquiring about my interest in supporting the program. Through my interest to support with the floods, we are then referred on to other areas we might find interesting to help out.
This definitely piqued my interest, so I didn’t seek to investigate any other organisations, I immediately applied, completed the training, and was matched very quickly. It all went quite smoothly.
Who do you visit and what do your visits involve?
I visit my friend Layne each week. I pick Layne up from her home and together we found an excellent café that we both love. Each week we chat over a cup of soy latte and pot of green tea. Layne has led a very interesting life and I love to
listen to her stories and advice.
What motivates you to stay involved with volunteering with lonely seniors?
The world changes so quickly! Having the opportunity to meet with someone like Layne each week provides us with time to learn from each other. She has experienced things I will never have the opportunity for and lived in a time that can never be revisited.
We share stories about the old and new with our own perceptions challenged.
I am motivated to continue this friendship and share my knowledge of the ‘new world’ with Layne which I hope will support her to maintain her independence.
Did anything in your life play a role in providing inspiration for your involvement?
I am currently on leave and wanted to stay connected to community. I have lost my own grandparents and have a great respect for our ageing generation.
Do you have a message to share?
Becoming a volunteer is easy and takes such a small amount of your time. We are all human beings and need to take care of each other – when there are people in need, we should respond. If you can’t do it now sign up in the future because we
all grow older every day and one day, it might be us or someone in our family who needs support.
It may not be something you are actively or knowingly seeking, but you could be amazed at how rewarding the experience can be for you and your senior friend. I am so glad that I signed up!