From Then to Now with Southcare

A friend of mine once said the best job she had in her life was the one she had in retirement!

Along with my secretarial career, I have been a volunteer for most of my life. One volunteer position I hold now, in the offices of Southcare in Manning, goes back a long way.

Carol at work at Southcare!

Carol at work at Southcare!

At the time, I was a member of the Manning Uniting Church congregation which was having discussions with Koonawara Presbyterian Church about people in need in our area; in particular those living in the Karawara Homeswest units. It was brought to our attention that a young couple there with very few resources were expecting a baby – so the congregation got busy knitting, sewing and collecting money and furniture for them. Open Southcare – That tiny mustard seed has grown into a mighty tree!

Southcare officially opened its doors in May 1982 in the then disused Methodist Church building on the corner of Pether Road and Bickley Crescent. Volunteers on roster welcomed all-comers, offering friendship and a helping hand in whatever way was appropriate. Church members donated non-perishable foods, clothes and household goods. We baked for regular cake stalls and for an annual fete, we made creative saleable items, potted plants, donated books, served morning teas – to raise money to keep Southcare going. We lined up and a hairdresser in the congregation trimmed our hair for the same price as we usually paid, and the money was donated to Southcare!

It was a very exciting day for all of us and for the community when the first paid (Care Coordinator) position was appointed with Government funding.

Over the ensuing years of Southcare’s development, I had a full-time job therefore my volunteer contributions were wherever I could support the growing service in the community. It was in retirement, in May 2010, in the 28th year of my association with Southcare that I offered one day per week as a volunteer in its offices. It has been a wonderful experience.

Volunteering is different in many ways to paid employment in a career. Life experience counts, there is a degree of flexibility and it enriches your life – you are valued and treated so well as a volunteer!