Kyabram District Health Service has celebrated the return of volunteers to its Sheridan Aged Care and Social Support Program after a two-year absence due to COVID- 19 pandemic.

Speaking at last week’s Volunteer Welcome Back Workshop, KDHS CEO Anne McEvoy said residents, consumers and staff had all missed the vital support and companionship offered by the volunteer network, adding that it was lovely to see their smiling faces again.

Volunteers also shared their personal pandemic experience, with many having craved social interaction with the KDHS community, particularly those who were alone during lockdowns.

COVID-19 has decimated Volunteer Programs across all health services with only 10-40% of volunteers returning or expected to return post-pandemic.

A significant number have either retired or moved on to other volunteering opportunities.

At last week’s workshop, volunteers were led through KDHS’ COVID-safe plan and provided with a recap of emergency procedures, manual handling, privacy and confidentiality and personal well-being obligations.

A new-look Volunteering Program was also unveiled, the result of a COVID-19 review of volunteering activities at Sheridan and the Social Support Program.

The revamped program provides for greater flexibility and activity choice, in turn enabling volunteers to bring their own skills and interests.

This will assist KDHS’ lifestyle staff to maximise resident and consumer well-being through both social engagement and meaningful activities.

Anyone interested in volunteering at KDHS is invited to contact the Volunteer Coordinator Alma Limbrick for more information.