May 19, 2020

National Volunteer Week

This week is National Volunteer Week! Volunteers play an important part in helping Northern Health deliver outstanding health care for our community.

We have over 350 volunteers across our sites who assist with a variety of roles including guiding, manning the library trolley and drinks cart, visiting patients for a chat, cuddling babies, helping with administrative tasks, helping with Q-Flow, Social Support Group and assisting with fundraising activities. The volunteers also partner with community groups such as Red Cross, Whittlesea City Salvos, Whittlesea Craft Group, Kangaroo Ground Knitters and local schools.

Traditionally, Volunteer Week is an occasion where the volunteers are invited to an event where they are recognised and rewarded for their years of service. Due to COVID-19, volunteer activity across all sites unfortunately had to be suspended in the interest of their safety.

However, this year, Henni Wade, Christine McGowan and Monica Polimeni who oversee the volunteer services program, decided that since the volunteers couldn’t come here – they would go to them! They took it on themselves yesterday to drive 111 kms to personally deliver years of service awards to 17 of our volunteers. They plan to deliver the rest later this week.

Here in their words is a description of their ‘road trip’:

Today was a lovely day for a road-trip. Our first stop was at Pat Wills’ place. She was very surprised to see us. Pat has helped with a multitude of tasks including Palliative Care, raffles and the Goods Trolley. Congratulations on 20 years of service Pat! 

Pauline Chua is one of our CVS volunteers who is celebrating 15 years of service. Pauline had been regularly visiting residents in Villa Maria and Grace Villa. She can’t wait to be out and about visiting again. 

As we were trying to surprise volunteers with our visit, not everyone was home. Kevin Hede had popped out for a walk, so his son Darren accepted Kevin’s 15 years of service gift on his behalf. Kevin helped out in the Men’s Shed for a long time and is currently volunteering at the Broadmeadows Surgical Centre. 

We also missed Loretta Bettles and Brian Hoctor who are volunteer drivers. Loretta has been a driver for 10 years and Brian for 5 years. Silvia Crocitti wasn’t home either but we left her gift in a secret hiding place. Silvia has volunteered for 15 years at Bundoora Centre in the Busy Fingers Shop and also at the Northern Hospital. 

Jo McKenna has also reached a 20 year milestone. Unfortunately Jo wasn’t home and sent in this photo of herself holding her gifts. Jo volunteers on the Disability Advisory Group, is part of the Consumer Participation Group, helps with Q-Flow, sells raffle tickets, helps run the bingo and wherever else there is a need.  Phew!! What a list – thanks so much Jo!

 Lauren is pictured here with her Mum and Dad. Lauren has reached an amazing 20 year milestone! There is nothing that Lauren isn’t willing to try. She helps with so many things around the hospital. Thank you Lauren – you are a shining star!

Bill Butler volunteers at Broadmeadows Hospital helping with the Planned Activity Group/Old Blokes Shed. He is celebrating 15 years of volunteering. Congratulations Bill!


We managed to surprise Neville Watson and Les Poynton in person who are both from our Bundoora Centre, but missed Dennis Couche who had popped out for a walk.

 The lovely Lilia Corpaci has volunteered at Northern Hospital for 10 years. Lilia mainly helps out with replenishing stock in Emergency Department, but will help out where-ever needed. Thank you Lilia!

Norma McGrillen  is celebrating an impressive 20 years of volunteering. Norma helps out in the Busy Fingers Shop. Thank you so much for all that you have done for us Norma.

Nina Cardamone is one of our Pastoral Care volunteers. Nina has been volunteering with us for 10 years. Thank you Nina, it is so comforting for our patients to have your visits.

Other volunteer milestones include Shirley Dwyer who is celebrating 25 years. There are many more volunteers celebrating milestones, too many to mention here! Please join us in wishing our lovely volunteers, “Happy Volunteers Week!” We miss you!

Featured picture shows Volunteer Pauline Chua flanked by Monica Polimeni,Christine McGowan and Henni Wade.