National Volunteer Week 2024

National Volunteer Week (20 – 26 May), is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering, and BHN is proud to celebrate the work of our nearly 300 volunteers.

Each year, BHN volunteers contribute thousands of hours of assistance to vital programs, enabling us to offer quality services to often-vulnerable clients, so they can pursue their best health, their way.

The in-kind hours volunteered directly translate to enhanced service delivery and mean our clients are well-supported and welcomed with a friendly smile.

By giving their time, skills and dedication, these amazing individuals are changing lives.

Find out more about the amazing work of these outstanding members of our community through the links below.


A Priceless Connection

Meaningful Connections is our government-funded volunteer visiting program that has been enhancing the health and wellbeing of senior Australians since 1992.

Through regular social visits the program provides companionship to seniors experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

Volunteer visitors are matched with recipients based on shared interests – enabling meaningful connections through conversation and activities such as board games, reading, reminiscing or outings.

Volunteers support seniors living in either private homes or aged care facilities, with weekly or fortnightly visits.  Visits for clients living in private homes with family, can also provide opportunities for carers to have valuable respite.

Kara says her visits to Heather provide many meaningful connections in her own life.

Heather with volunteer Kara

“I met the amazing Heather, 82 years young, during lockdown in August 2021. We immediately hit it off via video call until we were finally allowed to meet in person and go for a socially distanced, masked walk a few months later.”

“It’s funny because if you ask me, I get more from our visits than Heather. But Heather will tell you differently of course. She’s cheeky like that. I decided to volunteer because I wanted to give back to the community and hopefully make someone’s day just a little brighter.”

“By visiting Heather, I ended up making my own days brighter in the process. I had lost my Mum to cancer in 2016 and missed her every day. I soon discovered that having someone as beautiful and kind as Heather in my life, felt as though I had a mum again.”

“I have met all Heather’s family now – her daughters have even called me their honorary sister and Heather proclaims that she is my surrogate Mum. I can’t tell you how special it is for me to be a part of Heather’s life and I know she loves having me in hers (she tells me every day). I’m volunteering my time but what I get in return is truly priceless.

I am so grateful to be a part of this program and appreciate the wonderful team at Better Health Network for all they do for the volunteers and seniors in our community.”

To find out more about volunteering with BHN, call (03) 8587 0322 or email


Marilyn and Lorraine’s friendship

“I began volunteering with BHN after I retired and have been visiting Lorraine for the past four years. For the first couple of years, Lorraine lived in her own home and then moved into an aged care home further away. I travel a bit further now each fortnight to visit as we have developed a good friendship, and she introduces me to staff as her friend. The week in between our visits we find ourselves talking on the phone for an hour or so.

Our usual visits involve spending time talking together and me listening to what’s been happening for her. Lorraine has shared stories of her younger years growing up around Lakes Entrance and later moving to Melbourne for work and the fun she had with friends she met there, going to movies and the theatre.

Lorraine has been a very keen Demons supporter for many years and even travelled all around Australia as part of the cheer squad to support team when she was younger. I am not an AFL follower, but I do take notice when her team wins and enjoy the delight it brings Lorraine.

Lorraine sitting on garden seat with volunteer Marilyn


As part of our visits, we usually walk across the road to Coles, where Lorraine buys some items she wants. On one occasion Lorraine asked me if I would go with her on a bus trip to an RSL club for lunch and some entertainment. It was a lovely time together and something different for both of us.

On the past few visits, we have been going across the road to get lunch at the fish and chip shop. Lorraine has really enjoyed the opportunity to step out from the aged care home and enjoy some different food, especially seeing that she loves to fish and chips.

Lorraine has expressed on many occasions that “it’s so good to see a friend”, since her only other visitor is her son, because other family and friends live a long distance away.

Lorraine also loves animals and gets a thrill out of seeing people with their dogs when we are out. Often she will chat to the owner, asking the dog’s name.

I greatly value our friendship and I feel that it’s a privilege to spend time with Lorraine, especially when we go out and about, sharing lunch together, shopping or just enjoying the sunshine.


Finding confidence through volunteering

Jiayin joined BHN as a volunteer with our balance exercise group at the start of this year, having recently come to Australia as an international student.

He/she helps clients with their exercises, supporting them through the class and was soon enjoying the benefits of his/her new role.

“I was paired with a client on probably my second shift at BHN, and while initially I couldn’t recall some balance actions, I encouraged her after each step. Because of my encouragement, she remembered more and so did I. So the experience was like we taught each other and we made progress together.

Volunteering at BHN has been a wonderful opportunity for me to engage with the local community. As an international student I initially struggled with my English communication skills. However, through this experience, I feel proud of being able to effectively convey exercise instructions using simple words and body language. This has significantly boosted my confidence in speaking English.

Moreover, interacting with the elderly has taught me patience and provided insight into local workplace conversations and customs. These skills will undoubtedly benefit me as I seek future employment opportunities in Australia.”


Celebrating Gwenda’s 30 Years

Recently BHN celebrated the 30 remarkable years of dedication and service of volunteer, Gwenda who has been the epitome of selflessness and commitment, since joining us in 1994 as a social support assistant for Heathland Health Services.

Since then, her contributions to Central Bayside Community Health and BHN have extended far beyond the countless practical tasks she undertakes, with her warmth, positivity and a sense of community enriching the lives of all those she meets.

Her dedication serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us of the power of kindness, compassion, and the difference one person can make.

Thank you, Gwenda.



Meaningful Connections



Click here to see our Volunteers in Action


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts