CVS volunteers helping thousands of people in region for 30 years

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The 2022 theme for National Volunteer Week is ‘Better Together’, and it couldn’t align more to the vision of IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitor Scheme.

The CVS is a friendship program which links volunteer visitors with people who live in aged care facilities or at home throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

This year marks a massive 30-year milestone for IMPACT’s CVS program, with several volunteers participating for more than two decades themselves!

Since having been involved in the CVS pilot program and three decades of delivery, IMPACT estimates more than 2800 volunteer positions have been filled and thousands of people have had someone to call a friend.

And it is not just the residents who benefit from the program, but also those who are volunteering.

By sharing skills and stories with one another, valuable connections and friendships can be made.

As part of the visit, perhaps you’ll enjoy having a game of cards, listen to music, play a board game, take a short walk outside, help to write letters, reminisce, or simply have a chat and a cuppa.

The CVS volunteers are asked to visit at least once a fortnight and spend time doing what they both enjoy.

IMPACT Managing Director Tanya O’Shea said she could not be prouder of the CVS volunteers who give their time to meet with local residents, socialise, and minimise potential impacts of isolation, particularly for people who may not have regular visits with family or friends amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

CVS volunteer opportunities are available in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin.

This week for National Volunteer Week and every week, IMPACT gives its thanks to all those who volunteer to help improve the lives of fellow community members.

For more information about IMPACT’s CVS program visit www.impact.org.au or phone 4153 4233.

If you’re looking for a place to start on that New Year’s resolution or desire to give back to the community, IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme is here for 2022.

And we’re looking for more volunteers to join our dedicated team.

The CVS is a friendship program linking volunteer visitors with people who are isolated at home or live in aged care facilities throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

For CVS coordinator Heather Hinsbey, the world of volunteering is among her passions rather than simply a job.

When Heather took up the CVS role in 2014, she had an understanding of the importance of a program which sought to provide connection, conversation, and compassion for the elderly who were in great need of company.

Not long after her mother passed away, Heather started volunteering too.

“It was therapeutic for me,” she said.

Heather said, “they were like mums”, full of understanding and they had many pearls of wisdom.

While she probably would have found her way to volunteering eventually, Heather said it was beneficial for her when she did.

She said volunteering was rewarding in many ways, particularly in gaining perspective, and even developing as a person.

Through CVS volunteering Heather said you gain an appreciation for what people have been through and how they have paved the way for future generations.

Heather said the CVS team was always looking for more people to join.

She also encouraged anyone with a culturally and linguistically diverse background with compassion for older people and an interest in volunteering to contact IMPACT.

She said people can be very socially isolated and this can be amplified for people with a different cultural background and if there’s a language barrier.

The CVS team has volunteers throughout Bundaberg, Gin Gin, Childers, Gayndah and Monto.

CVS provides a regular familiar face for an aged person to interact with, whether that be with a cuppa and a chat, board game, or even walk.

The program ask that volunteers visit a minimum of once a fortnight and spend time doing something you both enjoy.

Heather said the volunteers love what they do. Some have multiple people they visit!

If you would like to start the new year with some volunteering, call 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233.

For more information click here.


By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on volunteering and IMPACT's Community Visitors Scheme.

As human beings we often need a sense of connection and community.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

While solitude can be a form of relaxation and peace for some, social isolation for extended periods of time can have adverse impacts on one’s mental health.

This time of year in particular can be a very lonely time for people in our community who, for a range of different circumstances, are without close family and friends to spend time with.

But IMPACT Community Services volunteers are dedicated to ensuring they aren’t alone.

And we’re looking for more people to help us make a difference.

The Community Visitors Scheme is a friendship program linking volunteer visitors with people who are isolated at home or live in aged care facilities throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

The value of friendship and community interaction is truly priceless – as human beings, having a sense of belonging and self-esteem are significant factors of our needs and mental health.

If your mental health starts to be impacted, your sleep quality may be reduced, as can your self-care, while you may experience increased feelings of anxiety and/or notice a change in your behaviour.

Friendship and positive social interaction can improve self-esteem, stress management, confidence, and even moments of joy and laughter.

As a CVS volunteer your presence truly is a present.

Whether you’re there to have a cuppa and a chat, play a boardgame, listen to music or go for a short walk, you could be enriching the quality of life for the people you visit.

CVS provides a regular familiar face for an aged person to see and gives them something to look forward to.

The program ask that volunteers visit a minimum of once a fortnight and spend time doing something you both enjoy.

Volunteer opportunities are available across the region in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin.

If you’re looking to find a way to volunteer and give back to your community, the Community Visitors Scheme may be the perfect way for you to spend your time.

Regardless of skill set, we love engaging with people with varied backgrounds and welcome all volunteers as valued members of our team.

Call our CVS coordinator Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233 to get involved.

It takes someone with a big heart to spend their time volunteering to help others.

And IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme is full of those people.

Recently the CVS held its annual celebration where dozens of volunteers were recognised for their contribution to the program and most importantly the lives they impact.

The Community Visitors Scheme is a friendship program linking volunteer visitors with people who are isolated at home or live-in aged care facilities throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.

Having run for more than two decades, the program asks that you are able to visit a minimum of once a fortnight and spend time doing what you both enjoy.

Whether that be a game of cards, listening to music, playing a board game, taking a short walk outside, help to write letters, reminisce about days gone by or simply have a chat and a cuppa.

Simply having a presence can make the world of difference and ensure someone doesn’t feel isolated and alone.

Among the presentation were Certificates of Designation, 1 Year Certificates, a 5 Year presentation, two 20 Year milestones and one 25 Year award.

Those who attended the celebration were also treated to two live performances.

Barry Bishop sang two songs which captured the essence of friendship and togetherness which the program prompts.

While Melody the clown had just about everyone on their feet dancing before lunch was served.

For anyone thinking about volunteering, there are CVS opportunities available across the region in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin.

Regardless of skill set, CVS love engaging with people with varied backgrounds and welcome all volunteers as valued members of our team.

Call our CVS coordinator Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233 to get involved.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about our region's lonely elderly the and isolation COVID-19 has caused.

In a time where travel and visiting interstate is trickier than ever, and national mental health concerns are on the rise, visiting our lonely and elderly residents has never been more important.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Bundaberg and the surrounding districts typically have ageing populations and, with that, a rising need for kind-hearted volunteers.

It’s easy to become caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but unfortunately that often means our elderly can become an afterthought.

IMPACT’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) knows this, and has been operating its aged visitor service in the Bundaberg region for over 28 years.

The CVS program provides much needed companionship to older people who wouldn’t otherwise engage in much social interaction; if any at all.

It provides a regular familiar face for an aged person to see each week and gives them something to look forward to.

I have heard countless stories over the years about how much our volunteers brighten up the lives of others.

One particular volunteer that comes to mind is Roy McGuiness who retired from volunteering last year after 28 years with CVS.

He was one of our first volunteers when the pilot program began in 1992, and will continue to be an inspiration to us all.

His kind and giving attitude to relationship building set the tone for our volunteer program, and his achievements will continue to be well respected by all at IMPACT.

Roy was sad to be leaving the volunteer program to focus on his own health, but his parting outlook was that it was time to give others a go.

The CVS program is always looking for more volunteers, and in more areas than just Bundaberg.

We also operate in Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin, with our staff recently participating in the Gin Gin Seniors Expo.

The unfortunate reality is that there are lonely people everywhere, and we need volunteers to provide company to isolated community members in these uncertain times.

For as little as an hour each week, you could make a real difference in somebody’s life.

It is truly inspiring to see the difference we and our volunteers can make to people suffering from a lack of interaction.

I am incredibly proud of our CVS team and the fact we have been providing this important service in our community for almost 30 years.

I can’t thank our wonderful staff and our selfless volunteers enough for their time and commitment to improving the lives of others.

It’s people like this that are worth their weight in gold, but we always need more.

Get involved today and give the gift of friendship to someone in need; you’ll be surprised at how rewarded you will feel within yourself.

Phone Heather today on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of leading a busy life, but it’s important to remember there are pockets of our community that face barriers to human interaction which can lead to ongoing loneliness and depression.

When Ken Dewe was visiting his wife Jean in her nursing home, he witnessed firsthand how rarely some people received visitors of their own.

CVS Volunteer Ken Dewe (left) with daughter Janice Franks
CVS Volunteer Ken Dewe (left) with daughter Janice Franks

Being so close with his own family, Ken felt for the people who had nobody.

“My wife was in a nursing home for two-and-a-half years before she passed away, and I saw other people in there who just didn’t have anyone visiting them at all… at any time whatsoever,” he said.

“I just thought it was not quite right that someone be left alone without relatives coming.

“Of course they may be overseas or in other parts of the country, but sometimes it seemed like they just didn’t care.

“The staff said it happened more times than you’d know, and that’s why I wanted to volunteer.”

Ken met many people during his time visiting Jean, and one such person was IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Coordinator Heather Hinsbey.

He said Heather was visiting other residents there and they would talk about various subjects related to the aged in the Bundaberg region.

“Loneliness itself is a bit of a disease,” Ken said.

“We’re a herd animal and we need to be sociable.”

Ken now visits two elderly people and likes to think his company provides some comfort to them.

“They quite like it, but unfortunately I’ve got a terrible sense of humour,” he joked.

“I just try and cheer people up… the real art of it is listening.”

Ken said sometimes all they want is a small chat, or to be asked how they are and how they’re feeling that day, which is so simple to do.

“I thought I’ll try and do my little bit,” he said.

“It’s much easier to smile than frown.”

You too can make a positive difference in an elderly person’s life, for as little as an hour a week.

Heather said people usually started volunteering for the benefit it provided to the elderly, but volunteers soon realise how rewarding the experience is for them as well.

“It’s not a job, it’s a joy,” Heather said.

The CVS program operates in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin and will be attending the Gin Gin Seniors Expo on Thursday August 19.

To find out more about CVS and the wonderful impact you could make, phone Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233 or visit impact.org.au/volunteer.

Desley and Doug Kuhn could be a recruitment poster-couple for the volunteer army. They got into it for all the right reasons and simply love what they do.

Desley and Doug Kuhn are incredibly happy CVS volunteers

“We pretty much just fell into volunteering,” Desley said during Volunteer Week. “I was visiting a friend and Charmaine asked if I would visit someone else as well.  Doug kind of just got ‘dragged along’.” 

Desley has a long history of volunteering. She grew up the daughter of a Rotarian in a Christian family, and they were taught to give back to the community and make it a better place for everyone.

“For us, the Christian principles of loving, respecting and caring were just the way life was for our family,” she said.

“My Dad, especially, was a very church and community-minded man.”

Today, Doug and Desley volunteer for a number of different reasons. 

“A very large part of it is how good it makes us feel to give pleasure to someone else,” Desley said.

“There are some truly amazing people living in aged care. They have had fantastic and interesting lives sometimes, and sometimes they are just lovely people to know. And they are so very grateful for your care and attention.  It makes you feel really good.” 

Desley says that as retirees, it could be so easy to just vegetate and in due course feel no longer useful or needed. But volunteering gives them a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and a feeling of being needed, loved and appreciated. 

Even while COVID-19 restrictions were in force, Doug and Desley kept up their friendships, albeit at a distance.

They built a fish tank and stocked it with goldfish and installed it in their garden, ran a raffle with the help of a local business, helped from outside the facility to run "The Monto Show Day", and produced numerous letters, signs, banners and patchwork quilts to keep in touch with their friends. 

“It's a feeling of being valuable in someone else's life.” Desley said. “And, believe me, there is nothing better than feeling needed, loved and wanted."

"We love our Timber Time group. The camaraderie around the table when all the ladies have paint on their hands, and the men are chucking off at them, and we are laughing at something funny or someone's memory of other times, makes something we all treasure.

“Also the pleasure we all get when we look at the Christmas and Easter decorations that we have made together and the folks are so proud of, and the joyful greetings from so many when we walk into the room. The lovely, handmade thank-you cards they sent us in Seniors Week will be treasured forever.”

Desley has the perfect advice for people thinking about becoming a volunteer.

“Everyone has a choice - whether to be a user or a giver.  If you are a user, you live in a community, make use of what is offered, but do not contribute or give anything of yourself.  If you are a giver, you'll be run off your feet.  Too busy to be lonely.  Too valuable to be overlooked or forgotten.” 

If you're not sure how to begin, she offers this advice:

“Anything that interests you interests someone else.  Find that someone else and you have made a friend.  Friends are very precious. You can't have enough of them,“ she said.

“Volunteering in an aged care facility is probably the most rewarding job either Doug or I have ever had, or are ever likely to have.”

Call IMPACT’s Community Visitors Scheme Program Coordinator Heather Hinsbey on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233.

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director


Our senior citizens make up a large part of our community in Bundaberg.

It’s important that the generations who helped build our region to what it is today are still treated as valued members of the community.

That’s where our Community Visitors Scheme shines bright.

CVS provides friends for older people

IMPACT’s CVS program has been operating in the Bundaberg region for over 28 years and provides much needed companionship to older citizens.

Loneliness has been linked to premature death and poor physical and mental wellbeing.

Statistics from 2018 show that instances of Australians experiencing loneliness increased from the age of 70, from 13% of the population to almost 20% in those aged 80 or over.

Caring for others has been identified as an important safeguard to prevent or reduce loneliness, which is why our CVS program is so vital.

Visits can assist in several ways, and they don’t always have to be in person.

This offers a compromise in times of COVID restrictions, a flu of any outbreak, or when a volunteer falls within a high-risk health category.

Visit an elderly person with IMPACT's CVS program

While many of our volunteers visit the elderly in their homes or aged care facilities, some of our visitors are trialing online communications through digital tablets.

We also offer these digital tablets as a way to play games and encourage friendships to flourish between the resident and volunteer.

Reading a book, listening to music or playing a board game are also very rewarding ways to spend time with an elderly person.

Technology based visits made possible with CVS program

Virtual Reality headsets are another method we are trialing through CVS.

Many of our elderly can no longer travel great distances, and VR provides a glimpse of life away from the everyday.

Some volunteers have had their participants riding roller coasters at theme parks and re-visiting their old childhood homes they hadn’t seen in years.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Celebrating our long serving employees

The benefits of visiting are endless, for both the visitor and the visited.

To further ensure our volunteers are also reaping the rewards of community and companionship, our CVS team hosts a catch-up each month.

This provides our valued visitors the opportunity to debrief and provide feedback, advice, words of encouragement and support for one another, as well as training opportunities for those who would like to use the tablets or VR headsets.

Catch us at the Bundaberg Seniors Expo 2021

If you’re interested in participating, our CVS staff will be at the Seniors Expo this Tuesday, March 23, at the Bundaberg Multiplex Convention Centre from 9am to 1pm.

Alternatively, phone Heather Hinsbey on 0448 035 891 to discuss your volunteer options.

Staying engaged and mobile are two pivotal keys to growing older happily.

Thanks to IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme, Dawn Fleming gets to do both.

Dawn has been reaping the rewards of IMPACT’s CVS program for about three months now and is very happy with the companionship.

“I enjoy the visits very much,” Dawn said.

Walking is an enjoyable pastime for Dawn, however it presents its own challenges.

“If someone comes along on a skateboard, I don’t know they’re coming, and they’re on top of you before you know it,” she said.

Dawn’s volunteer Tahlia Facer visits her weekly and joins her on walks to the corner shop, watering and pruning the plants in her greenhouse, sitting and talking together or playing Rummikub.

Creating companionship for both visitor and visited

Rummikub is a game where each player draws 14 lettered tiles to form words.

The first word made by each player must have at least 7 characters, then smaller words can be made after that.

“I’m learning new words from Tahlia which is a help,” she said.

And Dawn is not the only one learning a thing or two.

“I had never played the game before, so I get to learn new things from Dawn as well,” Tahlia said.

“I think the game is supposed to be played competitively, with each word accumulating points, but we don’t keep a tally and often help each other make words with the letters we have leftover.

“It really is a nice way to spend an afternoon.”

Find out more about becoming a CVS visitor

Volunteering with CVS creates a moment of pause

Tahlia said the opportunity presented a window of solitude in an often-busy life.

“Visiting Dawn, I get to take an hour for myself while simultaneously giving someone my time; it’s a win-win,” Tahlia said.

Tahlia is fortunate that her employer pays two hours a month towards volunteering.

“All I need to volunteer is two hours of my own time and I get to see Dawn for an hour each week,” she said.

“And it is true what Community Visitors Scheme Program Facilitator Heather says, ‘it’s not a job, it’s a joy’.”

Uncover your superhero within by visiting an elderly person.

Phone IMPACT’s Community Visitors Scheme facilitator Heather Hinsbey today on 4153 4233 or 0448 035 891.

The value of reaching out has assumed a special significance in this age of Covid separation and isolation.

And now that restrictions have been somewhat relaxed, it's the perfect time to forge connections to those who need them most.

IMPACT Community Service runs a Community Visitor's Scheme (CVS) which recruits and organises volunteers to visit elderly people in aged care facilities and also to clients in their own homes who receive a Home Care Package.

These visits provide that all-important regular contact.

It's a joy

CVS Program Facilitator Heather Hinsbey, who volunteers herself, said the program made the world of difference for those involved. 

“It's not a job, it's a joy,” Heather said. 

“Volunteering brings benefits to both the visitor and the person visited.” 

According to Heather, there is not one particular type of person that makes a good volunteer. 

Something to offer

She said everyone had something to offer. 

“Sometimes all the person needs is someone to play cards or games with or help with letter writing or even listen to music together,” Heather said. 

IMPACT’s volunteers are currently taking Samsung tablets out to teach some of the elderly how to Skype or use FaceTime to enable them to keep in touch with their friends or family during Covid. The tablets also can be used for podcasts, audible books or games and other tools to assist residents keep in touch with the latest technology, keep their mind active and prevent them feeling lonely or isolated. 

“We encourage people to think about volunteering as it’s one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to share the joy of companionship,” Heather said. 

If you would like to make a much-needed connection to those in need, contact Heather at IMPACT's Community Visitor's Scheme on 4153 4233 or 0448 035 891 or go to Volunteer Today | IMPACT Community Services

Dael Giddins has a long history of serving her community, so it was no surprise to anyone when she decided to sign up as a volunteer in IMPACT Community Services' Community Visitor Scheme.

But Dael was in for a surprise when she learned that her mother, Patricia Woodcock, was the very first IMPACT CVS volunteer in Gayndah. She signed up in 2002 and visited Gayndah's elderly residents for 10 years.

Dael's mother Pat also had a long history of serving her community and was keen to pass on that sense of social duty and responsibility to her daughter.

“Mum got me started in the Junior Red Cross,” she said.

Are you interested in volunteering? Learn more about CVS

Growing up, Dael's family didn't have it easy, and often struggled.

“But Mum was always ready to help others, even when it was a struggle to put food on the table.

And that lesson from her mum has been well-learned as Dael is well-known in her town for supporting her community, having started working in Local Government full-time from the age of 15.

She is a Division 4 Councillor on North Burnett Council but is also very active in volunteering endeavours.

She is active in community sport and has spent countless hours volunteering for organisations and currently holds executive positions within the Gayndah Rotary Club, Central Regional Little Athletics and Gayndah Orange Festival Committee, while being an active member of the Gayndah CWA (she opens and closes the CWA rooms every day),  and the Gayndah District Netball Association. 

Find out what other services are available at IMPACT

Dael has had a long association with Central & Upper Burnett District Home for the Aged (Gunther Village) and is now a board member for the facility. 

“Mum started the Gunther op shop 35 years ago to raise money to buy them equipment,” Cr Giddins said.

And Dael has honoured her mum's legacy once again at Gunther by working in the shop.

Her voice is filled with pride when talking about her Mum and her efforts in the community.

“Mum loved teaching crafts, playing cards, she just loved that interaction,” she said. “She was a very thoughtful person.”

Dael has only recently signed up to be a community visitor but she is really looking forward to providing a little bit of companionship to a resident who needs a friend, and has been trying to encourage others to sign up at CVS.

“You can do so much for someone by just a little effort,” she said, “but it makes a big difference in their lives. I encourage people to give up an hour or two of their time to make a difference in someone's life.”

If you want to find out more about volunteering call IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme coordinator Heather Hinsbey on 4153 4233.

IMPACT Community Services is at Hinkler Central this week

IMPACT Community Services is setting up a pop-up stall at Hinkler Central so if you've ever been curious about what we can do for you, come on down and say hello.

We'll be setting up just outside the Cotton On store from Tuesday, November 3 to Thursday, November 5.

It's a great chance to come down and have a look at the diverse range of support services we have.

We will have staff from key parts of the organisation to answer any questions you may have about training, job services and family and individual support.

Check out our range of support programs

For example, we have a new training course in hospitality starting November 16. Come and find out all about it.

And if you’ve ever thought about volunteering with IMPACT come and have a chat.

“Over the last 40 years, IMPACT has supported thousands of people to improve their life opportunities,” said IMPACT Managing Director Tanya O'Shea.

“It is therefore essential that we connect with our community to ensure that our programs and services remain relevant and accessible.

“These events are more than just an opportunity to promote our services. They are an excellent opportunity for our team to listen to the needs of people within our community.”

Find out what training courses are available at IMPACT

We will also be doing a very quick survey where people can go into the draw to win a $100 gift voucher and a huge jar of lollies. Just guess the number of lollies in the jar!

We'd love to see you and find out how we can support your dreams and change your life.


Congratulations to Julieanne, the winner of our guess the number of lollies in the jar competition. Julieanne picked up her winnings (a $100 gift voucher and the lollies) from IMPACT Community Services on Friday November 6.
She had the closest guess from all who took part in the lollies competition, which was part of our activities at our Hinkler Shopping Centre pop-up stall this week. For those who entered, the correct number of lollies was 166.
Julieanne had guessed 165. Her young daughter Catherine was all smiles as she checked over some of the winnings. A big thank you to everyone who showed their support for us this week.


Anyone is eligible to win the $100 gift voucher.

Entries are made by answering the IMPACT Community Services’ survey at Hinkler Central Shopping Centre 3rd - 5th November 2020.

1 free guess is provided upon completion of the survey per person.

The prize will be drawn on Friday the 6th November, winners to be notified by phone.

The results will be published on IMPACT’s Facebook page.

If the winner does not claim the prize within 5 business days, the voucher will be redrawn.

In the case of multiple correct guesses, a name will be drawn randomly.

This draw is run by IMPACT Community Services’ Communications Manager Adam Wratten.

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