Local volunteers show ‘enormous resilience’ | Fairfield City Champion
When the South West Sydney Local Health District Palliative Care Service (SWSLHD) was suspended on March 17, 2020, palliative care volunteers were recruited to form a COVID-19 team to adapt to the methods COVID-safe workplaces to maintain grieving activity.
At a time when visitation restrictions were in place, a limited number of people at funerals, border closures and no memorial services, volunteers have supported bereaved families throughout the pandemic.
Their dedication has been recognized with the Western Sydney Volunteer Team of the Year award at the recent NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards, organized by the Center for Volunteering to recognize the exceptional efforts of volunteers statewide.
Some of the ways they supported families included: bereavement kits, providing phone numbers to access support services, handwritten condolence cards, and a follow-up letter. They also supported patients and their caregivers by phone with 42 hours of recorded calls in the last fiscal year and volunteers came to play and sing through an online platform from their homes for inpatients in the care ward. dedicated palliatives.
The Always Loved Group, Bossley Trio and Ingleburn Library Knitting Group Ladies helped the department launch the Butterfly Box project in 2020, which provided a warm environment in the hospital room of a dying patient. In the boxes are bed runners / pillows, a blanket, battery operated candles, a tray and silk flowers.
That same year, Into the Dreaming Resource Boxes were created, which provide a culturally safe space in the hospital room of a deceased Indigenous patient for their family and community.
Center for Volunteering CEO Gemma Rygate said the past 12 months had been “difficult”.
“… But the volunteers continued to dig deep to support their local communities through this adversity,” she said.
“In many cases, they had to find whole new ways to volunteer during the pandemic, but they never gave up, they got around that and showed tremendous resilience. “
Kate Hoang of Cabramatta was named Adult Volunteer of the Year. Kate organized the Red Cross appeal which enabled the NSW Chapter of the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VCA) to raise $ 50,000 for the victims of the bushfires.
She has also organized and live streamed online ceremonies for the 45th commemoration of the fall of Saigon and the 45th anniversary of the Vietnamese settling in Australia and holds medical forums among the Vietnamese community.
Rosina Armstrong – Mensah of Wattle Grove was recognized for supporting vulnerable people seeking help as part of the Parramatta Mission Meals Plus volunteer team with the Young Volunteer of the Year award.
Each week, Rosina helps out each week with preparing, cooking and serving breakfast and lunch, as well as unpacking, sorting and donating to those in need. A role that has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The awards are supported by major partners of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW.
The Minister of Families, Communities and Disability Services, Alister Henskens, said the awards recognize volunteers who “went above and beyond what could be expected of them during an extremely difficult year”.
“Volunteers are ordinary people who do amazing things for their community, and I am inspired by the fact that they dedicate their precious time and energy for the benefit of others,” he said.
NSW Clubs’ Executive Director Josh Landis said: “After the challenges we have all endured over the past 18 months, the efforts and sacrifices of our state’s volunteers seem more important than ever … We are so proud for supporting these awards and I congratulate all of the volunteers who have been recognized for their dedication and commitment, each of you is a winner.