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Keeping an ‘open line’ for residents

For Vanda Ware, keeping an open line with those who need a chat has become part of her role as a volunteer.

<p>Vanda (right), pictured with fellow ACH Group Kapara resident, Betty, recently became a volunteer for a telephone program which creates opportunities for older Aussies to support each other.</p>

Vanda (right), pictured with fellow ACH Group Kapara resident, Betty, recently became a volunteer for a telephone program which creates opportunities for older Aussies to support each other.

The 90 year old resident of South Australia’s ACH Group’s Kapara, recently became a volunteer for the Uniting Care Wesley Bowden (UCWB) telephone program, which creates opportunities for older Australians to support each other.

The initiative targets older people who are feeling isolated and connects them with a volunteer on a weekly basis.

“I am given the person’s name and phone number and I call them to have a chat. I made the first call to Betty and we chatted about gardening, family and things that we are interested in,” Ms Ware says.

“I am sure lots of people would appreciate a phone call and a chat, especially if they can’t get out a lot and don’t have family nearby. And there are benefits for me as well, because I am able to meet new people, make friends and make a difference in someone’s life.”

According to Coralie Griffiths, project officer at UCWB, this new initiative came to life because Kapara’s residents wanted to volunteer.

“It all started with ACH Group approaching us, as some of their residents were seeking a meaningful volunteering role. We knew some of our customers would benefit from it, so we got things moving, and provided training and the telephones to Kapara,” Ms Griffiths says.

Michelle Williamson, from ACH Group Kapara, says seven residents are involved so far, reaching out to 20 people on a weekly basis.

“We are trying to match our residents and clients through their social history and interests,” Ms Williamson says.

The residents started making the calls and are really keen to connect with their community and continue to have a purpose, independent of age,” she adds.

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