What is the minimum volunteering commitment timeframe?
How long is the onboarding process and what is involved?
The onboarding process involves an interview over the phone or via video (using MS Teams), followed by a National Police Check, submitting a volunteer onboarding pack and completing a volunteer orientation. This process takes about 2 weeks.
What qualifications or checks are required to volunteer?
- All volunteers will have to complete a new Australian National Police Check (NPC) arranged and expensed through the program. You cannot use a NPC that has been completed by another organisation or country.
- You will also need to complete a Statutory Declaration for any other criminal history, if you are a citizen of another country other than Australia, OR have resided in a country other than Australia since turning 16. ‘Resided’ means living in a country for more than 3 months. ‘Citizen’ means holding a citizenship of a country, regardless of whether you have lived there or not.
- If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will also have to provide a copy of a valid Australian visa with suitable workers’ rights to volunteer.
- You have to be residing in Australia with a verifiable proof of address.
Do you need to be vaccinated against COVID to volunteer and what evidence is requested?
Yes, volunteers are required to be vaccinated against COVID, unless you have a medical exemption recorded on your immunisation history statement and COVID-19 digital certificate.
Your COVID-19 vaccination history can be provided using any of the following:
- A vaccination certification or other evidence from a vaccine provider.
- An immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate which you can access from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you can provide an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate by obtaining an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) number and submitting your proof of vaccination received within Australia or overseas. Find out more about Individual Healthcare Identifiers here.
How long does it take to get a National Police Check?
This can take 1-2 weeks to process if there are no disclosable outcomes. Disclosable outcomes are reviewed further by our HR Compliance team.
Do I need a car?
Yes, volunteers and senior clients are encouraged to participate in and enjoy activities together outside of the home. Often times our volunteers will accompany their clients into the community using their own car. This helps senior clients become reacquainted and better connected with their local community.
How soon can I begin volunteering?
As soon as you complete the onboarding process, and a client is available to arrange a visit, we will send you their contact information to reach out to them. At times the client we are looking to pair you with might have unexpected medical treatment or other events that may delay the initial meeting. We will keep you informed as we support you along the way.
How does the matching process work?
Once you complete your onboarding process, we will recommend a potential client match and send you the client’s contact information for an initial call. The call is to introduce yourself and have a chat to see how you relate. If you feel there could be a good match, then you set up an initial visit with them at a mutually convenient time.
When you meet in person, the idea is to assess whether you think you can set up regular scheduled visits together. After your first couple of meetings, you decide on a schedule of visits and continue your friendship journey together.
How long does it take to be matched?
Once you complete your onboarding and we send you a senior client’s contact information, we recommend that you reach out to them within 48 hours and arrange an initial meeting within a week. Your first couple of visits will help you determine whether you feel that you have a connection and can set up a regular schedule of visits.
What happens if I don't get along with the older person I am matched with?
Our aim is to facilitate a natural friendship between a friendly visitor and their senior client. We appreciate that this might not happen with a client we match you with initially, but that is where we come in to help you find a connection that works for you both.
I work full time; can I still volunteer?
Yes, we have several volunteers who arrange visits with their clients over the weekend or after work. In some instances, volunteers have requested their employers allow them time to volunteer, so that they can leave early and visit their senior client on a weekday.
Can I visit more than 1 senior client?
Yes, please let us know if have the capacity to visit more than one client. Also, you may want to start with one client initially, and then decide to take on another client later.
What training and support is provided to volunteers?
We provide a detailed volunteer orientation as part of the onboarding process. We will also communicate any ongoing training facilitated by other providers that volunteers may benefit from. This information will be posted in our newsletters and on our website in the Resources page.
Can I take a break from volunteering and still remain registered in the program?
Yes, if you would like to take a break to travel or for other personal reasons, let us know and we can determine how to support your client until you are available again.
What happens if I need to leave the program?
We understand personal circumstances change and we urge our volunteers to let us know if they can no longer visit a client. Volunteers who can no longer visit will be offboarded from the program, and we will assist their client transition to another volunteer if preferred.
Once you have become a volunteer, even if you leave and decide to return at a later date, we can easily reinstate you as an active volunteer. This also applies to clients who opt to leave and then re-apply for the service later.
Do you support volunteers in meeting their Centrelink obligations?
Yes, our volunteer program is registered with Centrelink to support volunteers in meeting their ongoing obligations.
Do you provide volunteer insurance?
Yes, volunteers engaged in voluntary activities defined by our program are covered under our Volunteer Workers Personal Accident Insurance.
Can I volunteer if I am under the age of 18?
No, you have to be 18 or above to volunteer in our program.
Can I take my pet?
Yes, if your senior client is comfortable with animals, we encourage taking your pet along.
Can you be reimbursed for petrol and other travel expenses?
We currently do not reimburse these expenses but are reviewing it under policy. We also make sure to match our volunteers with senior clients who live within a reasonable distance for them unless a volunteer is comfortable traveling further. For example, a volunteer travels this distance as part of their daily commute to work and are happy to visit a client closer to their place of work.
Alternatively, a volunteer may opt to visit their client every fortnight instead of weekly. We can also consider phone calls only in exceptional cases, where the distance is substantial, and the client is satisfied with phone calls and possibly the occasional in-person visits.