Blue Haven would like to take a moment to give thanks to our incredible volunteers and the supportive roles they play in helping our clients. Without our valued volunteers, we simply could not provide the range of care available, at the highest standards possible.
Volunteer spotlight: We caught up with one of our exceptional volunteers Fred Hollis. Fred has been volunteering with Blue Haven for three and a half years as a community transport driver.
1. Tell me a little about yourself
I’m 67 years old and moved down to Kiama with my wife Linda in 2014. We have two children and two very recent grandchildren.
We had been holidaying down here for 20 or so years and loved the area, and we were lucky enough to find a great home overlooking Easts Beach. We love the Kiama lifestyle; everyone is relaxed and happy to say hello. It’s a great place to live!
I have a Bachelor of Business and a Graduate Diploma in Management, and worked in Human Resources for much of my 40 year’s employment. I worked for the NSW Environment Protection Authority, the Dept of Community Services and the Public Service Commission in senior human resources positions.
I enjoy travelling with my wife, snorkelling, yoga, volunteering for Blue Haven and Kiama Community Radio, and babysitting my two grandchildren.
2. What do you do for Blue Haven? / Describe what a day in the life looks like.
I volunteer one day a week for Blue Haven, driving one of the four Blue Haven buses. I’ve done about 140 of these trips over the three and a half years I’ve been volunteering and find it very interesting and rewarding.
I typically drive clients (seniors, people living with a disability, and those without access to transport) to medical appointments in Wollongong and around the local Kiama area.
On the day, I pick the bus up at the depot, complete a safety checklist and then start the trip. I pick up each passenger, helping them onto the bus as necessary then proceed to the various medical centres and hospitals. I then pick them up after their treatment and return them home.
3. What made you decide to volunteer with Blue Haven?
My brother volunteers in Sydney, taking an early onset dementia group out on various excursions. He was clearly enjoying it, so I thought I’d see what volunteering was available in the Kiama area. I had just retired myself and thought that it might get me out of my comfort zone and also give something back to the community. It certainly has been a great experience and is one I’d recommend to anyone!
4. What is the most rewarding part about being a volunteer?
Meeting a range of interesting people, while helping others and giving something back to the community.
I enjoy talking to each of the clients about their family and life story and most people are very happy to have a yarn about anything that’s on their mind. Many of them have fascinating stories about mid-century life in Kiama, or coming to Australia shortly after the war, their sporting achievements and so on.
Some clients want to talk about the challenging situations they are facing, while we travel to their appointments. Helping them to get things off their chest and/or debrief on the way home and knowing that you have made things easier for them in some small way is very rewarding.
5. Anything else you would like to add?
No one trip is ever the same and is always interesting! As I also volunteer for Kiama Community Radio (after obtaining approval to interview any willing client about their interesting lives). These can be found on the KCR website under ‘Tales from the Blue Haven Bus’!
Blue Haven would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and acknowledge our volunteers for their dedication and generosity. We cannot thank you enough for your commitment and we are honoured to have you as part of our Blue Haven team!
Blue Haven is actively recruiting for more volunteers. If you are looking to make connections in the community and experience all of the amazing benefits of volunteering, sign up now: Blue Haven Illawarra | Volunteering
11th May 2023