The Narrandera Soroptimists Club were presented with a finalist’s certificate in the NSW Volunteer of the Year award.
The Soroptimists were nominated by the Narrandera Health Service staff for the work they do in running a Health Maintenance program at the Narrandera Health Service. The Club made it to the finals at Wagga Wagga last August.
The Health Maintenance program was started five years ago.
“The program started through the Narrandera Shire Council, through the Live Well program,” said Soroptimists member Bev Hughes. “They were looking at people being in better health overall with that program. Of the course the physio department were happily including people who had been in to them with health problems. There was nowhere for them to go after that, other than the gym.”
The Soroptimists were approached by Council staff member Julie Briggs to help out with a self-directed exercise program.
The program was initially supposed to happen in conjunction with the hospital; but according to Ms Hughes, the arrangement would originally have involved alternating days between the Soroptimists and hospital staff.
“But it didn’t happen that way; people were moved about and we took on the whole thing,” Ms Hughes said.
The Health Maintenance Program is for patients with chronic and complex conditions who have completed the cardiac, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs and Transitional Aged Care programs.
“It’s a continuation of recovery. After operations or whatever treatment our people have had, they’ve been coming on to the exercises in order to continue a set program,” said Soroptimists member Veronica Berry.
The hospital provides the room and the equipment; some of the equipment was donated to the community and made its way into the hospital.
“It’s something that our club is very pleased to be doing. You appreciate the fact that for an hour, twice a week, people are really getting a lot of wellbeing out of that simple hour. And you might just be standing there watching,” Ms Berry said.
All the members gathered spoke about the enormous social benefits that participants were able to get from the program.
“There’s been a couple of people who have really come out of their shell. You see a difference in their personality, a difference, perhaps, in even how they may dress,” Ms Berry said. “And they get out of their house,” Soroptimists’ member Gwen Lee added.
Despite their tremendous work, the Soroptimists members were quick to point out the help they have had from other parts of the community.
“We were lucky enough, because our first aid certificates were due this year, we received a grant off the Narrandera Shire Council. Two thirds of us were able to do it,” said Soroptimists president Iris Schofield. “We were lucky enough that the RSL club gave us the rest of the money. We applied to them; we wrote a letter and explained that we are a fundraising group and we’d had to take money that we would normally give to the community to go towards the rest of our certificates, and they gave us the rest of the money,” Ms Schofield said.
“There are actually quite a few people from the outside – like the club, and community transport – helping us, and enabling us to do it. Like the Council with our certificates and first aid. So it goes round.”