Mater Volunteers Col Falkner and Christine Sparks have transported thousands of patients who would otherwise struggle to attend their hospital appointments.
This International Volunteer Day, celebrated on 5 December, Mater Volunteers marks twenty years of providing this valuable service to the community, with more than 3500 trips performed annually.
Volunteer Services Manager Judy Johnson said transport is a major barrier to health care for many people experiencing financial hardship, ill health and social isolation.
“The transport is important but I’m sure it’s the warmth and kindness of our drivers that makes the whole experience special,” said Judy.
After four years at Mater as a volunteer driver, Col says he still enjoys the experience.
“People are very appreciative and it’s a joy to be with them. It’s easy if you like helping people.
“I rarely talk about the weather… it’s anything but. Sometimes I get to hear the patient’s whole life story,” said Col.
“I introduce myself as their ‘chauffeur for the trip home today’ which usually gets a smile.”
Christine said she was looking for something to do after she retired and has certainly found that at Mater.
“I really enjoy talking to patients, especially the elderly. The time we have together in the car is a release for them. And it’s more personal than going home in an ambulance.”
As well as driving patients, Christine also volunteers on the wards and puts her acting skills to work as part of the volunteer patient simulation program.
Mater Volunteers perform more than 700 shifts per week at Mater’s South Brisbane campus, across 35 volunteer roles including wayfinding ambassadors, patient companions and ward assistants.
If you’re aged between 25 and 73 and would be interested in joining Mater Volunteer’s patient transport team please contact Mater Volunteers on 3163 8568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.