Desley explains why volunteering is the best job in the world

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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 explains why volunteering is the best job in the world
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.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Saluting our Region's Senior CitizensThat’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.

STRONGER TOGETHER: Saluting our Region's Senior Citizens

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.

CVS volunteer visits keep Dawn active and learning“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.

CVS volunteer visits keep Dawn active and learning

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

Carrying on her mother’s caring legacy through CVSGrowing 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

Come and say hello to us at Hinkler Central

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.
Come and say hello to us at Hinkler Central


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.

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

By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"Stronger Together" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. Today Tanya looks at the incredible efforts made by our carers and volunteers.

Last week was National Carers Week, and in honour of the millions of carers around Australia I would like to this week touch on the incredible service of our local carers and volunteers who contribute to our community every day.

Carers are people who support friends, families and loved ones achieve their day-to-day needs. Normally when someone who might be aged, have a disability, an illness or a mental health condition needs care, it is provided by someone they know and trust. Sometimes people don’t even know they might be classed as a “carer”. People who care for their parents, partners, siblings or children can think their role of providing care is one simply of moral obligation. However, there is carer funding available for those who are eligible. It’s important our carers and volunteers are not only looking after their loved ones, but themselves as well, and there are supports available for that.

The selfless act of caring and volunteering makes a real difference in the lives of not only the recipients, but to service providers as well. Research has shown the act of giving provides a great sense of value and fulfilment to the volunteer too.

Volunteer with IMPACT

Our Community Visitors Scheme has been operating out of IMPACT Community Services since 1992, and for 28 years we’ve been connecting lonely people with volunteers with great success. However, like many face-to-face services, our CVS program has been hit hard by the restrictions implemented to manage COVID-19 effectively.

It is a sad fact that many of the people our volunteers visit are alone and lonely in aged care facilities. Many don’t have family or friends in the area, and do not get external visitors other than those established through the CVS program. We operate not only in Bundaberg but Childers, Gin Gin, Monto and Gayndah, and across the board we’re seeing volunteer numbers drop significantly as a result of Coronavirus restrictions.

Mental health and wellness has been a battle for many people throughout this pandemic, and our elderly are not excluded from that. Many of our volunteers find themselves falling within in the “at-risk” category and, with the addition of tight visiting limitations, very few visitors are now able to meet with someone to brighten their day.

We are working to overcome this hurdle by connecting digitally. Our CVS program has sourced electronic tablets to assist in this space and facilitate a virtual meeting. We are encouraging anybody who has a spare hour each week, or even fortnight, to connect with a lonely person in aged care. It really makes the world of difference.

According to Volunteering Australia, the top reasons why people volunteer are to help others, for personal satisfaction, to do something worthwhile, to gain social contact themselves, and to be active. Volunteers also provide an economic benefit, with an estimated $14 billion of unpaid labour served each year. It’s safe to say not only Bundaberg but the entire country come to a grinding halt if it wasn’t for the commendable gift of time our volunteers give. Let’s give thanks to their efforts and encourage others to take up the amazing act of volunteering and caring for our treasured senior citizens.

Of course, as restrictions begin to ease in this space, we are facilitating face-to-face visits. If you’d like to get involved, either virtually or in person, you can contact our CVS Coordinator, Heather Hinsbey, on 0448 035 891 or 4153 4233.

Stronger Together with IMPACT's Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Today Tanya takes a look at mental health ahead of Mental Health Week

Stronger Together: It's not selfish to put your mental wellbeing firstQueensland Mental Health week is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. As a workplace, IMPACT Community Services values the mental health and wellbeing of our people. We aim to create a safe space by sharing our stories, encouraging self-care practice, and providing opportunities for debriefs and check in’s just to remind each other that we care.

Need assistance in overcoming life's obstacles? Our Community Navigators are here to help.

Supporting and encouraging mental health within the workplace is now common practice, with a significant shift in society’s attitudes paving the way for greater acceptance of mental health problems and increased support being provided to people who may be experiencing some issues. Some workplaces have developed their own internal resources and frameworks for increasing mental health awareness within their business, whilst others rely on the vast array of free resources available online.

The Queensland Government’s ‘Dear Mind’ draws inspiration from the Wheel of Wellbeing, sharing tips and information linked to health, learning, kindness, connection, taking notice and nature. The site also assists individuals to create an activity deck, a highly personalised selection of activities tailored to support and improve mental wellbeing.   

A wealth of resources

Today, we have choice and opportunities available to take charge of our personal mental wellbeing. The resources available online provide great inspiration and suggestions for how to get started. Yet, many people recognise the benefit and know where to find the information but have done nothing about it. Now I say this with compassion and not judgment as I completely understand that people are time poor and may be left wondering, ‘Who has time to fit something else into their day?’

Interested in volunteering? Contact our CVS program today.

My personal belief is that we need to make the time. We owe it to our partner, our kids, our family, our friends. Most importantly, we owe it to ourselves. On a plane, the flight attendant will always remind us to put our own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. If you have not got it on already, the time has come to put on that oxygen mask. Lalah Delia suggests that ‘dself-care is how you take your power back’. Power comes from taking back control over your choices and where you spend your time and energy. Power comes from taking care of yourself first.

Time for action

To achieve this, we need to take action. So, to get started, consider focusing on one thing that really matters to you. One of my goals was to establish a consistent morning routine that would enable me to be in control of how I set myself up for my day. Realistically, this is a huge goal and felt so incredibly overwhelming that it took time for me to take any action. After a while, I decided to chunk it down into some smaller goals that felt more realistic and achievable, with a focus on doing one thing at a time until it became automatic.

My one thing that mattered to me was to stop looking at my phone when waking in the morning. It mattered because I am aware that within the first eight minutes of waking up, our brain is more flexible, providing a great opportunity to take control of this time and feed our minds with positive information. Checking text messages, social media accounts and scrolling through emails during this time will instead hand this control over to someone else. Doing this each day might sound simple, however it took some time to break my pattern, decide on what I wished to focus on for that eight minutes and necessitated the phone being moved into another room while sleeping to avoid the temptation to check it. However, it eventually became automatic, and once achieving that goal, I set a new goal and when it became automatic, I set another. After many years and lots of experimenting, I have found a morning routine that works for me and incorporates self-care practices that effectively support my personal mental health.  

Mental health week

Queensland Mental Health Week (October 10 to 18) is the perfect opportunity to start doing that one thing that will support you. Whatever you decide to do, remember what works for someone else may not work for you. Keep experimenting and do not give up until you find that one thing that matters to you, and then be consistent and practice it daily. If you forget to do it, be kind to yourself and pick it up again the next day. Above all, be persistent, hold that one thing tight and remind yourself why you are doing this. It’s not selfish to make time for your mental health. You are worth it.

This week, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director Tanya O'Shea highlights the issues we see in the Family Support space in recognition of the International day of Non-Violence

Stronger Together - International Day of Non-ViolenceToday, October 2 is the International day of Non-Violence. Our region has historically experienced shockingly high statistics of domestic violence, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the number of violent acts being committed in homes in the Bundaberg region.

At IMPACT Community Services we have seen a spike in domestic violence cases following the outbreak of Coronavirus and the following restrictions and lockdown period. We are engaged with families involved with domestic violence every day. Our incredible Intensive Family Support (IFS) staff work tirelessly with families in violent circumstances, and help at-risk partners and children flee their homes when things become unbearable. Our IFS staff are on the frontlines and bear witness to the distressing situations many people are involved in.

Of course, it’s never okay to become violent to anyone or anything, but we understand there are several complex factors involved when this type of act is prevalent in families.

Need assistance in overcoming life's obstacles? Our Community Navigators are here to help.

When underlying issues involving financial burdens, drug use and alcohol abuse are present, the additional advice during COVID-19 to limit social outings and on-site work have compounded pre-existing pressures in homes that may have already been ill-equipped to manage stress adequately. Many workers lost their jobs or were given reduced hours when the pandemic hit, adding fuel to an already stoked fire.

The important message to get across here is that there are services available to people in these situations. Our IFS staff don’t judge families who need assistance. We approach any given situation with open minds and a willingness to help. Ultimately, our staff want to make a difference in people’s lives. We work to prevent Government departments becoming involved, to give people the opportunity to build strong and healthy futures for themselves. We work to broaden available support networks to help both the parent’s and children’s wellbeing.

Parenting is the world’s hardest job, and everyone is a on a learning journey – it’s okay to reach out for help. When families are ready for support, we let them lead the conversation in how we can best assist them to make beneficial changes within the family dynamic. We can also help with tenancy support, connecting people with specialist appointments, parenting tips, behavior management tools, household management and routine structure, safety planning, advocating for services such as mental health or for housing, and provide access to DV Connect.

Interested in volunteering? Contact our CVS program today.

Sometimes people don’t understand the severity of their situation until they speak with someone removed from the immediate family structure. There are varying forms of violence and abuse, be that physical, mental or emotional, and acknowledging someone’s trauma can help them understand the realities of their lived experiences. Having someone to talk to is the first step to recovery, and once the conversation has begun, IFS can then approach their needs in a holistic way, wrapping support around people and families as needed.

When applying for certain assistance, families can become overwhelmed with tight criteria and departmental jargon that can be difficult to decipher. Our staff help clients articulate exactly what they need so they can be aligned with the services they are entitled to.

It’s important to remember that domestic violence is never okay and there are services available to help. If you are experiencing violence in your home, you can phone 1800 737 732 (1800 RESPECT) or DV Connect on 1800 811 811.

If you’d like to make a referral for support, you can contact Family and Child Connect on 13 32 34.

If you’re in need of assistance but unsure about how to proceed, please feel free to phone our IFS team for advice on 4153 4233.

IMPACT Community Services' MD Tanya O'Shea will be one of three panelists discussing social innovation tomorrow at CQUniversity's online Festival of Change

IMPACT Community Services MD Tanya O'Shea will tomorrow speak at CQUniversity’s Festival of Change where she will discuss the conception of one of the organisation’s social enterprises.

The festival is a learning opportunity facilitated by CQUniversity’s Office of Social Innovation and runs from August 31 through to September 18.

The national event is designed to celebrate and bring life to changemaking within the CQUni community. It also aims to acknowledge the positive impact the university and its stakeholders are having on the world while promoting opportunities for engagement, learning and collaboration.

Speak to New Image Laundry today

Mrs O'Shea has been invited to speak on the ideation phase of IMPACT's second social enterprise, New Image Laundry.

“I'll be sharing our journey of looking for a social enterprise that benefited both us and the community,” Mrs O'Shea said.

“We'd had great outcomes with the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and we wanted to add another.”

She said the focus was on job creation to achieve social outcomes.

“We wanted another social enterprise, like the MRF, that could create jobs for the community particularly for people with a disability and mental illness,” Mrs O'Shea said.

Recycle with IMPACT's Material Recycling Facility

The criteria for the business was that it had to provide low-skill work for our assisted workers, add value to the community, and it had to fill a gap in the business landscape.

Tanya and her team brainstormed several different ideas and decided to trial five different businesses: a cleaning company, a car-detailing business, a fishing lure manufacturing business, a jam-making business and the laundry.

They all had potential as an independent revenue stream, so they trialled them all for two years, but four fell short for different reasons.

“The jam-making business was very successful, so much so that we couldn't keep up with orders, but the business wasn't scalable,” Mrs O'Shea said. “The one that ticked the most boxes was the laundry.”

Before the current New Image Laundry, IMPACT had bought existing business Peg and Iron and rented a premises at East Bundaberg. In 2016 IMPACT purchased the vacant block of land at Inglis Court and built the new state of the art facility that is in operation today.

Give a little, get a lot: volunteer with us

“We went on a fact-finding road trip and got a lot of useful help and information from a number of commercial laundries including Vanguard Laundry, another social enterprise in Toowoomba,” Mrs O'Shea said.

“We took the idea to government and they provided us with $900,000 towards the $2.8million required to set up the business and since then it's been very successful in creating employment.”

The Festival of Change session will follow the Human Centred Design framework. Mrs O'Shea will be joining panel members prominent in the field, such as Elise Parrups, CEO Qld Social Enterprise Council, and Leslie Lowe, a fellow CQUni Alumnus Winner.

CQUniversity is well regarded as Australia’s most inclusive and engaged university, with social innovation as a driving value and ethos. It has received accreditation from Ashoka U as Australia’s only changemaker campus. As one of Bundaberg's most successful community service forward thinkers, IMPACT is a passionate advocate for social innovation in the region.

Register here now.

Welcome to the latest instalment in our Awkward Conversations series.

Awkward Conversations is an IMPACT Community Services' initiative where we explore some of the challenging issues happening in homes across the region.

Today we look at how to get back out into social life after the passing of a long-time partner.

Awkward Conversations: Moving forward after the passing of a long-time partner

Awkward Conversations: Focusing on teenage same-sex relationships.

Awkward Conversations: My b/f wants a naked shot of me.

Awkward Conversations: Should I move to Brisbane to look for work?

Widow: Since my husband passed away 5 years ago, I’ve been so lonely. I’ve lost contact with the friends we used to have and I’m not sure I want to re-connect with them now. How do I make friends in a place like Bundaberg? Everyone seems to know each other and I don’t have the confidence I used to have to start talking to strangers. Any help you can provide would be great because it’s getting me more and more depressed.

Friend: Well, first I'd think about visiting a doctor to talk about your depression, and if your GP thinks that there are solutions in community organisations, then perhaps ask for a referral to Ozcare who can assist you with linking to other services. There are lots of community programs and social groups you might want to investigate.

There is a Community Visitors Scheme that organises willing volunteers to visit you in your own home. You don't have to commit to anything but it might be nice to have a volunteer over for a cup of tea and a chat. You might even consider volunteering yourself. The good thing is that you know the person will be glad to see you because they've signed up for that very purpose. There are lots of ways to connect with people and you don't have to do it alone. There are lots of programs that are already set up for that very thing.

Are you feeling a sense of loneliness? Do you want to meet new people but are not sure how? Phone IMPACT Community Services' CVS program today to find out how our services could help you.

Make sure you keep an eye out as we explore more important topics in coming weeks. Our responses are purely hypothetical; each person's case will be different and what might be the right decision for one person may not be for another.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got a question you would like us to delve into.  Simply share a comment on our Facebook page, or if it’s something you would prefer to keep confidential, email

Aligned ethics, values and great benefits are just some of reasons why well-travelled Finance Manager Juanita Farley chose IMPACT Community Services as her next employer


You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. At least that’s the lived experience of IMPACT Community Services’ new Finance Manager Juanita Farley.

Juanita brings a mountain of experience to her new role at IMPACT from a wide variety of jobs both around Australia and the world. Judging by her first six weeks working for the organisation, she said she is settling in nicely to her collaborative and supportive surroundings.

Work/life balance and a meaningful job called Juanita to IMPACT

“I’ve done quite a lot of things, both in Australia and overseas, and I have background experience in lots of different industries,” she said.

“But IMPACT is the first employer I’ve ever had who took the time to make sure we were the right fit for one another by hosting a Teams meeting with other staff before taking the position.”

Careers with IMPACT

Born and raised in the inland town of Biggenden, Juanita set her sights on big city lights when she moved away at age 18. She decided to move to London for six months – which quickly turned into six years.

Since then, working in oil and gas, mining, financial services and not-for-profit industries have made up just some of the feathers in Juanita’s hat, and moving back to the small city of Brisbane after living the high life in the Big Smoke seemed a somewhat daunting task.

Juanita thought she would struggle living in such a small city again, but after settling in to BrisVegas, even that became too big for her.

“My motivation was to come back to grassroots, be closer to family and I was also attracted to the healthier and more relaxed lifestyle,” she said. “I just became sick of the hustle and bustle of city life and found myself wanting to slow it down and keep life simple.”

What resonated with Juanita were her aligned core values with IMPACT.

“IMPACT is a not-for-profit organisation, and the feeling of actually making a difference in people’s lives really does make work more meaningful,” she said. “Also, the flexibility was attractive and the employee benefits that come with working for public benevolent institution.

“The other thing I found appealing is the fact IMPACT will pay you for 2 hours a month to volunteer for another charity.”

Reward yourself, volunteer with IMPACT

The role of Finance Manager is a perfect balance for Juanita who gets to juggle the black and white of accounting with the diversity of managing industry and culture.

“Everyone seems lovely, very supportive, and it just seems like a very nice working environment. Very collaborative and supportive,” Juanita said.

Other than work, Juanita is loving the short 12-minute commute from Bargara and can easily drop her daughter off at St Luke’s on the way in.

“Bargara is just magical,” she said.

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