Volunteers keep things running smoothly

Administration Assistant
Narelle Griffiths manages the Centre Help stream of volunteers
Volunteer Penny helps out in the kitchen during Little Haven Week morning tea

The CENTRE HELP stream of volunteers works under the direction of Administration Assistant Narelle Griffiths, and are the group who help to keep the Little Haven Centre operational. If you have a specific administrative or technical skill and would like to keep things running smoothly, you could find yourself:

  • being the first point of contact on the Little Haven phones
  • organising publicity and media releases
  • photocopying
  • entering data
  • auditing
  • filing
  • restocking or sorting the Equipment Room
  • cataloguing the Little Haven library
  • doing the banking
  • writing a grants submission
  • cleaning
  • looking after our indoor plants
  • maintaining our premises

Centre Help volunteers do whatever it takes to keep the organisation running smoothly and support our Little Haven nurses so they can concentrate on their patients. If you’d like to apply to become a Little Haven volunteer please click here or if you’d like to know more about the skills needed in Centre help, talk to Narelle Griffiths.

Volunteer Yvonne makes a difference in many different areas

“My story started on 4 September 2008, the day we were told that Rod had motor neurone disease and that he was terminally ill. At the time we were living in a major metropolitan city. After we got over the initial shock we tried to make contact with our doctor about services that were available to us in the city where we lived and three months later we were still waiting. As one of Rod’s three wishes was to return to Queensland, as hard as it was leaving home and my family and the support we would have there, I brought him up to Queensland.

We chose to stay in beautiful South East Queensland and arrived in late December 2008. As Rod’s second wish was to die at home, one of the first things we did was to go looking for a good doctor. We found a local doctor who phoned Little Haven on our behalf and told them about us. About a week later we were sitting on our front verandah and a car pulled up. It was a Little Haven nurse Gen, calling to introduce herself and to let us know what help was available when we needed it. Within two weeks of her first visit Rod’s health started to deteriorate and Little Haven became my total support group as all my family were too far away to help us. Little Haven offered us so much with the loan of medical equipment, counselling, visits to check on Rod’s health, organising any services we might need and they were basically there for us the whole time. For myself, as Rod’s primary carer, they were there 100% for me too, as well as for him, making sure that I took care of myself so that I could look after him. Little Haven even organised Complementary Therapies for us: Rod had massages to keep him more comfortable, while I had Bowen Therapy. We were also assigned a wonderful respite carer and she came to us once a week so that I could go shopping, or pick up scripts. Everything was free of charge, which was immensely helpful. It’s hard enough to be in this situation, without having to worry about how to pay for what you need.

Little Haven’s nurses, medical equipment, complementary therapies, respite support and counseling were all provided at no charge. With motor neurone disease, Rod lost one ability after another which is very difficult to accept, so the counseling was very important for us. The counseling has been a huge benefit to me too, all through Rod’s illness Little Haven have been my extended family and have got me through the grief. Even after Rod died, Little Haven continued to support me.

It is important for me to be able to give back a bit of what I can because this is a huge service that is available to people which I know just isn’t available in other centres. It was a blessing that, through fulfilling one of Rod’s three wishes, we came to rural Queensland and were lucky enough to choose this community, where Little Haven operates. I want to help provide the support that people need, if ever they need the help that I got through Little Haven.

The first job I did as a volunteer was with a whole group of other volunteers in the Little Haven shop. That was a great experience. As fast as we sold goods from the shop, people would walk through the door bringing more donations for us to sell to raise operating funds for Little Haven. Little Haven is really well respected and well liked in this community. I can understand why. Working at the Heart of Gold Cafe was another great experience. It was busy; I worked a whole day starting at 8.30 am and worked through to 10 at night, but it was fun, working with great people, and being very well supported by the public. I didn’t get to see any of the Heart of Gold movies, but I heard all about them from my customers and just how good they were.

I found my own special niche when I realised that whatever money that comes into the Centre goes to patient care, so whatever I can do to save Little Haven expenses is worthwhile. I decided I could spring-clean the Little Haven Centre in Henry Street. Our normal cleaners do a good job, but I offered to spring-clean the way I do at home, even though it was autumn. So far I’ve cleaned out the fridge, behind the fridge, on top of the fridge and on top of every cupboard, shelf, picture frame and door frame in Little Haven. You may not think this makes a difference, but I know it does. I can see how Little Haven shines.

Little Haven made a difference to me, now it’s my turn to make a difference for Little Haven. I’m proud to be a Little Haven volunteer and look forward to becoming a respite carer in years to come, so I can help others the way I have been helped.”

Reprinted from the Little Haven Newsletter, 2010