Volunteering brings valuable connection

Volunteer Jeff Pettis (left) enjoys spending time with Laurie and says it benefits him just as...
Volunteer Jeff Pettis (left) enjoys spending time with Laurie and says it benefits him just as much as Laurie. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

People volunteer in many ways at Presbyterian Support Otago, and one of those is by becoming a visiting volunteer.

Enliven Visiting Volunteers visit older people in their homes for a chat over a cup of tea, to play a game of cards, help with shopping, or share an outing.

The volunteers provide regular, ongoing contact and good company for those who live alone.

Jeff Pettis, a Dunedin volunteer, met Laurie a few years ago. They spend a few hours together each Friday afternoon and go to the Dunedin Aphasia Support Group fortnightly.

On the alternate weeks, they like to go into the city for a coffee or to go shopping.

Mr Pettis said volunteering had benefits for himself and Laurie.

"I live alone and can isolate myself, so this gets me involved in something other than myself. Sometimes I feel like it helps me more than them.

"I'd recommend volunteering to anyone, especially if you're struggling to get back into the workforce, or aren't able to work in a paid job.

"Being a visiting volunteer helped me when I didn't have a job, as it gave me a routine. It helped me feel normal and made it easier to make that transition back into working.''

Co-ordinator Judy Hayes said, for many clients, the visit was the highlight of their week. She was looking for more male volunteers in Dunedin and Mosgiel but was keen to hear from anyone interested in joining the volunteer team.

"It's fantastic having people like Jeff involved as volunteers. We will work with you to make sure that you become connected with someone who is right for you.''

• For more information, contact Judy on (03) 477-7115.

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