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20 May 2019

San Help Team celebrates National Volunteer Week

The San Help Team's 500 plus volunteers are among an estimated 1.1 billion world-wide volunteers supporting arts, education, disability and health providers and the 6 million Australian volunteers donating close to 932 million work hours to Australian business and charity.

The San Help Team's Manager Patrina McLean says National Volunteers Week is a time to recognise the immense difference that volunteers make, with a series of celebrations during the week.

In addition, over 40 Help Team members are also being recognised for their 10, 15, and 20 years of service milestones.

"Since the San Help Team first started back in 1973, over 1800 volunteers have donated more than 1.57 million hours of their time " says Patrina.

"Ranging from 16 to 94 years, volunteers help with a diverse range of tasks including chatting with patients, helping the wards with their stock, running errands, greeting visitors, helping with meals, guiding therapy dogs to long-term patients missing their own pets, helping in the Volunteer Snack Bar, to opening our Museum with hospital artefacts.

San Volunteers have ranged from stay at home mothers to retired chief executives.

The ways they have supported us are as diverse as their wide skill sets, backgrounds, and their reasons for volunteering.

Quite a few of have been here for more than 30 years.

Clearly they enjoy what they do and are engaged at the San in making a difference, which is why they keep coming back every week … and we love them.

Our volunteers make the San a very special place."


Felicity Gerard-Helps is one of over 500 volunteers at the San Hospital who work the equivalent of more than 58000 hours each year as part of the San Help Team.

Also a volunteer at the Salvation Army, Felicity is being recognised during National Volunteers Week for 30 years of volunteering at the San. Felicity spends four hours every Friday in tasks that help patients.

"After my son went to school I decided to start volunteering. Initially I was one of the 'pink ladies' before we changed to yellow shirts.

30 years on I'm still here. Volunteering is great.

I've made great friends and it's really a beautiful community. I've never thought of doing anything else."


Fellow Help Team member and now Felicity's good friend, Rosemary Taylor who also joined in 1989 agrees.

"I started volunteering at the San after my mother in law was treated here.

I'd grown up with the philosophy of its good to contribute and give back, but I've actually got more from giving.

I love providing comfort by talking and spending time with patients. If I walk out of each individual patient's room and they have a smile on their face then I know I have helped.

I'll keep volunteering as long as I can."


Felicity Gerard-Helps and Rosemary Taylor celebrating 30 Years of Service


Felicity, Rosemary and San Help team Manager Patrina McLean


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