Friday 30 November 2018


Wednesday 5th of December is International Volunteers Day. The theme this year is ‘Volunteers build resilient communities’. This theme recognises local community volunteers for their significant contribution to their local communities.

Volunteering strengthens communities – by providing connection, security and information. A key benefit of volunteering is that it provides people with opportunities to be exposed to different world views, and assists in gaining knowledge and develops transferable skills.


Resilience is something Bass Coast Health (BCH) Volunteer Candy Pile has in abundance.


Candy has been volunteering with the health service for twenty years. As a ward visitor, she has run thousands of errands for patients over the years, cheering them up as she goes with her hearty laugh and contagious smile.


In March last year, tragedy struck Candy when she was hit by a car while taking her dog for a walk. An anxious seven months followed, while she endured many operations as a result of her injuries. Tragically, the accident resulted in the need for Candy’s right leg to be amputated.


Sadly, Candy’s husband passed away shortly after her return from hospital, but she says her volunteering gave her comfort during this difficult time.


“I needed something to take my mind off things, so it served that purpose, but I could also see that I made a real difference to some people’s lives, which just spurred me on further”, she said.


Candy continues to inspire patients to bounce back by volunteering in BCH’s Sub-Acute Ward and urges everyone to consider volunteering, observing, “You get much more out of it than you put in, and you meet such great people too”.


BCH is very fortunate to have an impressive 260 volunteers who gave an amazing 23,000 hours of their time over the past year to improve the lives of people within the Bass Coast Shire through BCH’s programs and services.


The group donated their time in areas that included; driving local people without transport options to medical appointments as far away as Melbourne, providing spiritual comfort to people in hospital, delivering meals to home-bound residents, visiting the elderly in aged care facilities, running errands for patients in hospital, assisting with administrative work, washing cars, building furniture in the Men’s Shed, assisting clients in social support groups, providing consumer feedback through various committees and serving on the BCH Board.

BCH’s Volunteers are also integral to BCH’s financial health, with the health service now boasting four Auxiliaries that raise funds for important equipment.


The most recent Auxiliary to be formed, the Phillip Island Health Hub Auxiliary, held their first fundraising event last month, an Open Garden event at Katandra Gardens in Cowes, raising over $6,000.


The remaining Auxiliaries have raised an incredible $186,500 over the past year for food boxes for local families in need, an ultrasound machine, refurbishments to the Wonthaggi Hospital Maternity Ward, an additional RAV4 vehicle to provide people with transport to medical appointments, medical hi-lo beds and a bladder scanner.


BCH CEO Jan Child describes how fortunate the organisation is.


“We are so blessed to have such a large group of truly selfless people who give up their own time to help us to deliver quality care to our patients, clients, and their families. We truly couldn’t provide the level of service we do, without our wonderful volunteers”, she said.


Future Volunteer programs in the works include a Palliative Care Program and a Companion Program aimed to provide companionship for patients who have higher needs, such as those with dementia or who are at risk of falling.


If you are interested in joining the Volunteer Team at Bass Coast Health call Coordinator Mandy Gilcrist on 5671 3372.

Pictured: Veteran BCH Volunteer Candy Pile says she gets far more out of volunteering at Bass Coast Health than she gives.