Originally written by HUW CUSHING
PORTLAND residents have shown their good nature by giving unprecedented support to Portland District Health.
A near 30 per cent increase in monthly volunteer hours at PDH and its nine associated centres can be attributed to its vital new recruits.
Manager of PDH Volunteers Carolyn Malseed, who has been with the hospital for more than nine years, says the support and number of volunteer hours across the organisation has risen, but the most noticeable improvement has been at Harbourside Lodge.
“We have gone from about 230 hours per month to more than 600 at Harbourside Lodge, which is fantastic,” Ms Malseed said.
Only 10 per cent of PDH volunteers are allocated to Harbourside, yet their time at the facility makes for 30 per cent of total volunteer hours.
In 2009 and 2010, more than 1000 monthly volunteer hours were clocked in at PDH and its sister facilities.
In 2010 and 2011, the number of hours grew to 1273 hours per month.
The number of actual volunteers hasn’t increased, only their dedication.
A change in volunteer staff can be attributed to the increase in hours says Ms Malseed.
“The new volunteers that are coming in are actually doing more hours than the previous volunteers,” Ms Malseed said.
One of those new recruits is Marg Williams who has been volunteering at Harbourside Lodge since January.
Ms Williams dedicates 18 hours of her week to the residents of Harbourside to assist in craft and game activities and sometimes just to have a chin-wag.
“I love aged people.
“I think they’ve got so much to give, so that was the area of volunteering that I chose out of all that was available,” Ms Williams said.
Roughly 250 volunteers are currently registered throughout the PDH.
PDH chief executive officer John O’Neill said the increase in volunteer hours was unparalleled in its growth and dedication.
“Their warmth and generosity are intrinsic to our health service.
“The amount of hours they have volunteered in the past year is truly amazing and shows great support not only for PDH but for our community in general,” Mr O’Neill said.