Peninsula Villages is celebrating National Volunteers Week by recognising the incredible 15-year contribution that one particular volunteer has made to the not-for-profit organisation.
Peninsula Villages has almost 50 active volunteers who are involved in all aspects of the residents’ lives, from meal deliveries, to care assistance, resident leisure, social support and administration. But Lynette Mackay is their longest serving volunteer, having shared her love of animals with the residents since 2005 through regular pet therapy visits.
The well-loved sessions, which often involve Lynette bringing her small dogs in via a children’s pram, have remained a resident favourite over the years. Lynette explained that whilst the facility and residents may have changed over the years, the impact of her visits has remained a constant.
“Being a volunteer is a very rewarding experience in general, and to be able to bring these gorgeous animals along with me is the icing on the cake,” explained Lynette.
“The last 15-years have flown by, and I have been blessed to visit many wonderful residents; but no matter who I’ve met, the joy and smiles we receive are always the same – it’s truly incredible to see how the dogs instantly brighten their day,” she finished.
Chief Executive Officer at Peninsula Villages, Shane Neaves said that the service volunteers contribute to the community organisation plays a vital role in providing practical assistance, support and comfort to residents.
"Our volunteers are pivotal in ensuring that our hard-working care staff have the backing they need to provide our valued residents with the highest level of care,” said Shane.
“These incredible individuals, such as Lynette, are valued members of our team who deserve recognition for the indispensable contributions they make to our resident’s quality of life,” he added.
To honour Lynette and the important service she provides, Peninsula Villages organised a special morning tea at the Village this week, which will included a cake, bouquet of flowers and a speech delivered by resident, Norma, with whom Lynette has formed a special bond.
Research into the incredible benefits of pet therapy in aged care is growing, with findings sighting significant effects on decreasing blood pressure, improving communication and increasing motor skill abilities. Therefore, it’s no surprise that facilities across Australia are now including pet therapy sessions into their regular scheduled activities.
“I am constantly delighted by the meaningful and rewarding relationships residents develop with the Chihuahuas,” said Lynette.
"The animals all love being made a fuss of and the joy they bring to the residents is the same.
“It’s not a job you do with the aim of receiving a paid wage. Volunteering rewards you in the happiness our furry friends bring to the residents, and the fulfillment we as volunteers feel in giving back to the community. That’s worth more than any salary could pay,” she continued.
As a not-for-profit community organisation Peninsula Villages welcomes support from members of the community who would like to become a volunteer to support roles such as delivering resident mail, calling bingo, driving buses, delivering community meals, reading to residents or offering supported resident shopping and wheelchair walks.
All our wonderful volunteers complete training and thorough police checks before they are inducted and are offered the opportunity to take on roles that interest them to support our residents,” concluded Shane.