Volunteer Networks

Ladies sharing cup of tea

IT is not always people with a disability who contact Ability Links. Other people in the community, whose lives are impacted by people living with a disability, can also contact Ability Links for help. Vivian Wilson, from the Upper Hunter, is one such person for whom Ability Links has had a significant impact.

Vivian is a full-time carer for her 55-year-old brother and 84-year-old mother, who live together in the Upper Hunter. Vivian’s brother attends a day program three days per week, while her mother attends occasional respite. Vivian contacted Ability Links because she feels she needs a regular break from her caring responsibilities and home environment. She reported often feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected, and wanted some help to find activities she could participate in by herself for a couple of days a week, while at the same time giving her a break from her caring routine. She worked through some tools with her linker to help her better define her interests and hobbies, and they spoke about her goals for the future. Vivian said that all she was interested in was to work with people and to help them enjoy life. One of the goals she identified was to lead a social group and organise gatherings, however, she would be glad just to get out and do some volunteer work, or other get more involved in the community. 

With her wish list in mind the linker made contact with a number of community meet places and groups which were looking for volunteers, and compiled a list of potential groups which were shared with Vivian at the next meeting. Vivian was excited to be presented with a list of options and different ways that she could see herself making a difference to people’s lives. Together Vivian and her linker discussed the options in more detail, until Vivian decided to try volunteering at the local hospital. Vivian disclosed that she had some medical issues which she felt she needed to address first. She was hoping to be finished with her medical appointments by the end of September, when she anticipates being ready to start working as volunteer. The linker has made contact with the relevant community group, where members are happy to welcome Vivian when she is ready.