Before COVID-19 restrictions started, one morning a week Brodie would visit the local aged care facility near his house in Toowoomba to catch up with his friend who he met through the St John Qld Community Visitors Scheme (CVS).
The CVS aims to improve social connections for those who feel lonely or isolated by matching them up with a volunteer visitor. Brodie and his friend chat and laugh together, tell stories and jokes, tell each other their plans for the week and end the visit smiling, before his friend goes off to have breakfast.
“I did not expect a strong friendship to form, but I developed a really nice friendship and bond with my visitee. It’s not arduous work at all, it’s very rewarding work”, says Brodie.
Brodie has been volunteering with the CVS at St John Qld for the past year. After witnessing his younger cousin (a previous St John Cadet) come to the aid of his injured mother and admiring her calmness and first aid knowledge, he made contact with St John Qld to ask how he could help.
Initially Brodie provided support to the First Aid in Schools program by supplying resources for 500 students before also providing resources for the St John Ophthalmic Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.
“Around this time was when I got a phone call about Community Visitors Scheme- which is when all of this flourished as my time became more flexible with work and I was able to volunteer. I love to talk and found that the CVS would be perfect and to my great delight and pleasure they decided to take me on”, he said.
Although St John Qld volunteer visitors currently can’t physically visit their CVS friends due to COVID-19 restrictions, many, like Brodie, are still finding ways to stay connected.
“One of the hardest things about this COVID-19 lockdown is not being able to visit my visitee. I didn’t realise I would miss it as much as I do - with COVID-19 I have been writing him letters until I am able to visit him again. I will be thankful when this lockdown ceases and I can visit him again, it is the highlight of my week.”
To find out more about the St John Qld Community Visitors Scheme or to volunteer contact St John Qld on 1300 785 646 or email email@example.com.