Greg and Judy Stubbs are volunteers with IMPACT Community Services and they love the relationships they’ve developed with the people they go and see.
As volunteers in the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) they love being able to provide this support, meeting people and hearing their stories. But the benefit is not just for the participants but for the visitor, too.
IMPACT desperately needs more volunteers to help provide support and company for elderly people across the region who would love to regularly see a friendly face.
“I just love learning about things, and all about the jobs these guys have had,” Greg said. “The fellow I'm visiting now has had so many interesting jobs: he owned a trawler, he's worked on oil rigs, he was a lighthouse-keeper, and he drove buses across the Nullarbor.
“And he was an undersea diver and he even held the Australian record for diving depth.”
Greg will spend 40 minutes to an hour with his new friends in their homes. The daughter of one said that “Dad always looks forward to you coming for a chat”.
For Greg and Judy the conversations were also a way to learn about their new home.
“We've only been here six years and we've learned so much from Greg's conversations with those he visits,” Judy said. “We're from Rosewood down near Ipswich. We looked everywhere but didn't want to join the rat-race, and someone suggested Bargara, and we saw Coral Cove and that was it.”
Greg said he’d always wanted to volunteer. One day saw a billboard promoting IMPACT and calling for volunteers to visit the elderly. He picked up the phone.
“It was just something I always wanted to do,” Greg said.
“Even back years ago, when I was still working, just to go and visit some old folks and have a chat. I'm a good talker, so I knew I wouldn't find it difficult.
“There's always something you can find out when you talk to them, especially the old guys who were involved in the second world war, and life back in the 40s and 50s. You learn things that you don't read about.”
Greg has new been volunteering for four years.
At the start, Judy was volunteering in the hospitals. As Greg shared the stories from his visits, she thought it would be good to join herself.
“I've been visiting Inge for over a year now,” Judy said.
“She's just turned 91 and told me all about growing up in communist East Germany. She's very fit and the first thing we do is go for a walk.
“We even took her to the show and she won prizes for her crochet work. And now she's crocheting beanies for my daughter and my granddaughter.”
And it doesn't take much to establish that human connection so many of our elderly need.
“If you talk to them you find out things you have in common,” said Greg.
“It could be they had a job that was similar to yours, or a sport they played. It doesn't take much to establish that connection.”
If you are interested in volunteering in the CVS, contact Heather Hinsbey at IMPACT on 4153 4233.