COMPANY: Lifestyle volunteer Ian Nockolds reads to resident Bert Bunker while he enjoys his morning cuppa.
COMPANY: Lifestyle volunteer Ian Nockolds reads to resident Bert Bunker while he enjoys his morning cuppa. Renee Pilcher

Cooinda's favourite newsreader

YOU may not know Ian Nockolds as a newsreader, but to many Cooinda Aged Care Centre residents, he's much more of a favourite than Heather Foord or Kay McGrath.

Mr Nockolds has been volunteering at the Gympie residential facility for six years, enriching lives of the residents in a variety of ways, including unfurling a newspaper and reading the latest happenings aloud to anyone who'd care to listen.

With eyesight not what it used to be, many Cooinda seniors find it a helpful and relaxing indulgence.

“I read the paper to the old people, take them for walks and involve them in activities like painting, playing cards, and Scrabble – they love Scrabble,” Mr Nockolds said.

As a lifestyle volunteer, he puts aside two days a week or about 30 to 40 hours a fortnight to help out “the oldies”.

Semi-retired, after 40 years working for Telstra, Mr Nockolds said he didn't expect he'd still be volunteering at Cooinda after six years.

He finds the time spent in the company of the residents rewarding and satisfying.

“I'm at the age that a lot of them are like my mother and father,” he said, adding simply, “I like making the old people happy.

“We do a lot of reminiscing. We might use books to help us talk about the old times and I've made lots of nice friendships.”

Three out of four community organisations in Australia would love more volunteers like Mr Nockolds.

It's a problem that is beginning to impact on many organisations' ability to provide essential services, according to a new report jointly commissioned by the Volunteering Australia and National Australia Bank.

Cooinda volunteer co-ordinator Joyanne Lake said there is a definite shortage of volunteers and would love more people to help with a range of activities.

“We have five volunteers, but could do with 10 to 15,” she said.

People with a range of skills such as painting, knitting or card making would be very welcome.

“Just sitting with people, or pampering them in some way – any skills can be utilised in one way or the other,” Ms Lake said.

Volunteers are also needed for the laundry, kitchen, canteen and administration areas.

Gympie Times


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