Bruce’s Story

Volunteering at Neighbour Connections has been nothing less than a new and exciting experience.

Volunteer Bruce

I decided after coming from a corporate sector that I wanted to be involved with community support, give a little back to the community. For me volunteering at Neighbour Connections has been nothing less than a new and exciting experience, the meeting of new people and friends. I started volunteering with Neighbour Connections twelve months ago.

My working life has been in senior positions in a corporate world of Information Technology (IT), late in 2012, after accepting voluntary redundancy; I made a decision not to go back to a five day a week position. So my plan was to contract myself out to businesses for three days and volunteer for two days a week. Prospective employers could not understand my decision, that one I wouldn’t provide them with my expertise on a full time basis and secondly why give my time away without being paid. This I hear is a common reaction out there in the corporate world.

I came to know of Neighbour Connections through contacting the City of Sydney Council, and I remember my interview was at their old location in Redfern. Vicki interviewed me and I also met Therese and it was explained that if I was accepted I would need to do several courses, have a police and motor license check before I could start.

After being accepted by Neighbour Connections, for the first few months I would go out on bus trips, BBQs and movie outings with Clients. The experience of meeting the Clients, learning a little history of the area, hearing of their personal stories, their pain and their laughter was all making my volunteering a great experience. It was during this time that I met Kim, Rosemary, Salwa, Daniel and Denise, some of the staff at Neighbour Connections.

After several months I was asked by Stephanie if I would like to provide Phone Support and with Phone Support I got to speak to Clients on a rotational fortnightly calls. As with all of us, some days we want to talk and others we are just pleased someone telephoned and that is what I found with this support service. Sometimes I would chat to Clients for 30 plus minutes and other times 10 minutes. Everyone of us likes to know that someone cares for us and that is what Neighbour Connections does, cares for their Clients. I also now do support to Clients in taking them to medical appointments, coffee and shopping.

If you want to meet new people, make new friends, have some laughs and be a shoulder sometimes then I can recommend volunteering. I am honestly having a great time and I am meeting the nicest of people whom I would never have met if I hadn’t volunteered.

Oh yes I still manage to fit in my contract work but somehow it just isn’t as satisfying as when I am with the Clients.