Celebrating 25 years of Mater Volunteers

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Celebrating 25 years of Mater Volunteers
Volunteers have played a vital role at Mater since its earliest days, but it wasn’t until 1992 that our formal volunteer program commenced. Mater Volunteers was established as a service in March 1992 by Sr Pamela Barker, Mater’s first volunteer coordinator.
By 1993, 170 volunteers had contributed 24 000 hours of time to Mater; this figure had more than doubled less than three years later in 1996. 
By 2000, 450 Mater volunteers were working in 90 areas across the hospital complex—from transporting patients for appointments, spending time with frail premature babies when their parents were not able to be at the hospital and supporting patients receiving cancer treatment, to managing an arts and craft service to help occupy mums on bed rest.
In the years since, our volunteers have continued to expand not only in size, but in the ways in which they provide support to our patients, visitors and staff.
Today, Mater Volunteers is one of Queensland’s most diverse hospital volunteer programs. In a typical week, more than 710 volunteer shifts are filled, equating to more than 80 000 hours contributed to Mater each year.
To commemorate their 25th anniversary, Mater Volunteers recently celebrated with a morning tea attended by volunteers representing each of the current 35 volunteer roles.
In congratulating Mater Volunteers on their milestone, Chief Human Resources Officer Caroline Hudson reflected on the value of volunteers at Mater.
“Volunteering continues in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy. Volunteers express the Mater Values through their actions,” Ms Hudson said.
“I am inspired when I hear the stories of the personal connections, and of the gratitude that patients and their families express for the thoughtful offers of assistance, compassionate gestures and friendly conversations from the volunteers who take the time to listen.   
“Not only the patients but our staff express their gratitude for the support that our volunteers provide every day—from the filing that makes it faster to find patient records and the data entry supporting research to the folding of 100 000 ‘blueys’ supporting ward staff.”
Every volunteer past and present has played a part in the Mater story and has helped build the foundations upon which Mater Volunteers will continue to grow.
“Some of the volunteer roles may change. What won’t change is the quality of the volunteers we seek—people with empathy, compassion and the time to express kindness.”

Tags: Mater Volunteers