When Vicki Newman saw In Great Company mentioned on a Channel 7 Sunrise segment, she knew she had found her calling to give back to her community and help those who suffer from loneliness. Now, even though they hardly meet in person, she has developed a thriving friendship with Billie through their weekly phone calls and heartfelt conversations.
When did you get involved with In Great Company?
In 2020, I reached out to In Great Company through Feros Care, after seeing an uplifting segment about the organisation on Channel 7’s Sunrise Breakfast Show.
What attracted you to the cause or why do you volunteer?
I was moving away from working full time and wanted to find purpose in giving back to society and do something fulfilling. Working in a retail background, I am a very social person and enjoy company and meeting new people. The segment I saw
on Sunrise featured lovely relationships built with volunteers and their elderly friends. This really appealed to me and the timing was right for me to start getting involved.
What attracted you to this organisation in particular?
In Great Company care about everyone involved in their service and try to match up volunteers to clients. They support you throughout the training process and are all about keeping people, especially our vulnerable, connected. The sense of
community with a caring culture attracted me initially.
Who do you visit and what do your visits involve?
I call my friend Billie once a week on Wednesdays. We speak on the phone for an hour and chat about the week’s events. We discuss all the news topics, good and bad, and give both our opinions on the matters. Billie used to be a hairdresser
so with my retail background, we have previous shop experience in common and enjoy having a laugh together. Billie has given me some great gardening tips and tells me how her roses and geraniums are progressing. As life can get busy and
hectic sometimes, Billie helps make me appreciate living in the moment so much more. We live an hour apart so haven’t been able to organise a visit in person but would like to at some stage.
What motivates you to stay involved with volunteering with lonely seniors?
Even though we don’t meet in person, I feel like I’m making a difference to Billie’s life as well as she is to mine. She is such a lovely, fun-loving person and I enjoy hearing her insights on life and I look forward to our
chats. Our talks add value to my day with Billie’s words of wisdom. And with Wednesday being the least busy day of the week for Billie, I feel like I am helping to fill some of the time with a friendly chat, and that’s rewarding
In your opinion, what is the most important work that In Great Company does?
Connection, inclusivity and communication is key and what In Great Company stand for. Support from emails, training, online seminars, invitations to cuppa events to assist volunteers in giving the best care possible to the elderly.
Did anything or anyone in your life play a role in providing inspiration for your involvement with lonely seniors?
After spending years visiting my elderly parents in aged care, I noticed that there was a need for volunteers. As not everyone has family or friends living nearby to visit them.
Do you have a story that really moved you?
My friend Billie is an incredible knitter and sent me the most magnificent tea cosy in the world. It’s a pineapple! And I absolute love it! I have it featured with me in the photo. I was very blessed to receive such a gift from my talented
Do you have a message to share?
I would highly recommend volunteering with In Great Company for those interested in community, giving back, finding purpose and helping the elderly. No matter how little time you may have to spare, you will make a difference.