Volunteer Visitors Help Older People Reconnect

For older people without family close by, living in the Northern Territory can feel isolated.  Volunteers with the Community Visitors Scheme offer older people friendship and a means to connect with the local community. This can make all the difference to someone’s life, giving them the chance to have a chat, play a game, go for a walk or head out to a museum or a movie.

Anglicare NT has been providing the Community Visitors Scheme since 1996, with volunteers in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. The scheme, funded nationally by the Australian Government, matches volunteer visitors with older people who have been identified as being lonely or socially isolated. The Community Visitor makes a commitment to visit the person they have been paired with each fortnight. Ideally the pair share similar interests and enjoy learning about each other’s lives.

Jill recently started visiting Bob as a Volunteer Visitor. Their first adventure together was to the heritage listed Qantas Hangar in Parap. Bob had been there many times before, but not recently. He became Jill’s personal guide, telling her about the old cars, petrol pumps and tools.  “Bob said he was having too much fun to sit down and have a rest! It made me feel so good to be involved in this program that bridges the gap for elderly, lonely people,” said Jill.

Anglicare NT CEO Dave Pugh said volunteers with the Community Visitors Scheme help older people remain connected with the community. “Their eyes light up when their volunteer visits. A real and lasting connection is often made between the pair, and it’s not just the older person who benefits. There are many fun activities they do together including listening to music, reminiscing about life, fishing or going out for coffee. Walking around a garden and having a cup of tea and a chat is a good experience for everyone!”

Anglicare NT thanks all our volunteers this National Volunteer Week. Your support makes a real and lasting difference to the lives of many people in our community. If you are interested in volunteering with Anglicare NT  please phone 8985 0000.

Volunteer visitor Jill visits the Qantas Hanger in Parap with Bob.