Rob and his wife Carol started as visitors at Ingle Farm and then became part-time volunteers.
‘We’ve been volunteers here for almost four years. When we started, Carol’s mum had been living here for a few years, so we knew the place quite well. Marge loved it here, especially the lifestyle activities’, says Rob.
Despite being familiar with the day-to-day life of the home, their first days and months as new volunteers were daunting. ‘When you walk in as a visitor, you take a lot for granted. When you walk in as a volunteer, suddenly it’s like “Okay, where do I start? What do I do?” Carol and I had to learn our way around all the different areas of the home and meet new residents and staff. It took us almost three months just find our feet’, says Rob.
Rob says volunteering brings so much enjoyment to his life. ‘To make a real connection with someone and bring a smile to their face and share a laugh and a bit of banter. It’s magic. It’s so easy to feel down when you get older. I watched that happen with my parents. So, I want to do what I can to alleviate that’, says Rob.
Volunteering has also come with some surprising health benefits. ‘When I’m at Ingle Farm, most days I walk the equivalent of at least 10 km. That’s a plus’, says Rob.
Rob worked at GM Holden for 14 and half years before the plant closed down and his role involved communicating with people from all walks of life, as well as having good organisational skills.
‘I’m also handyman and a Fitter and Turner by trade. I like to work with my hands and make things and I’ve been able to use these skills as a volunteer.’
Rob takes a quiet satisfaction in the contribution he makes supporting residents and staff. ‘I see it as a partnership with the Lifestyle Team, based on trust and faith. Knowing the team have faith in me and that they trust my ability to facilitate and organise an activity from start to finish means a lot to me.
I’m not here for any accolades. I’m just happy to help people and to share what I know and just get things done. Carol feels the same way.’
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