Viv is a well - known local identity in our community - once upon a time because of his famous eatery “Viv’s “- but perhaps these days, more because of his tireless work as a volunteer and fundraiser for organisations like the Transplant Unit at RPA, the Black Dog Institute and Salvation Army emergency services, catering for firefighters during the 2020 bushfires. Sawtell Catholic Care is one of the fortunate benefactors of this unassuming gent’s contributions.
Where did your volunteering journey start, Viv?
“I suppose it goes back to when I was in business. I’d sit somebody down who was stressed, make them a cup of tea, give them a feed and try to have time for them” Viv says.
“I had a good mentor in Steve Metcher, Major Steve of the Salvos. I did different projects with him while he was here in Coffs, over about 11 years. Then my Mum came into Mater Christi to live. I’d retired from the shop because of health issues, and I visited her a lot, so I got to know the other residents and just fell into doing whatever needed doing. Eventually I signed up as a volunteer and when Mum was gone, I started doing the weekly barbeques, as well as helping out in the village with the resident luncheons, visiting, driving and shopping. I’m very comfortable with end-of-life visits, just to be there and hold someone’s hand- especially the ones who have no one else- to help them know they’re not alone. I feel that’s an important part of what I can give.”
I like to keep busy and be purposeful, so I’ve done a lot of study, dementia courses and a Community Services Diploma specialising in case studies but I’m 68 now, so I’m happy to focus on volunteer work.
It was a progression and an enjoyable one. Volunteering gives me structure and it’s good for my own mental health to feel like I’ve helped someone else and put a smile on their face. If I go home feeling like I’ve made a difference, it’s been a worthwhile day.”
Thank you to Viv and all of our volunteers who dedicate around 960 hours a month to our residents.