My friend went through the difficult experience of her husband dying. She told me how supportive EPC had been for them through that time. I trained as a nurse in NZ in the 80s and worked a lot in the Children’s Hospital. I then had 2 boys and we owned our own business for a number of years through the 90s.
In 2016, with adult children and not working in the business any longer I decided I would volunteer with EPC. Initially that was in their community and transport team. It was so nice to take off my nursing hat and yet still be able to use my skills of empathy and support. After a few years I transitioned to a new team, where I have really found my niche, working as an admin volunteer.
The staff at EPC are very busy and there are a lot of ways admin volunteers are able to help. One of my key roles is to enter data which is required for government reporting. Every time a volunteer or staff member interacts with a client it needs to be logged on to a report. There are 220 volunteers at EPC that work with clients and each month a group of 4 of us sit and manually enter all of that information.
I also assist with making up folders for the bereavement staff. They need those to give to people who attend our bereavement sessions to remind them of all that EPC has in place to support them through those 13 months after the death of their loved one.
I have worked on the massive newsletter mailouts that occur 4 times a year. There are thousands of letters that have to be sent out and it would cost EPC a lot of money to pay for what the volunteers are able to do for them. We have a group of about 20 of us gather and knock it all over in one morning with lots of laughter, chatter, catching up and food.
The other admin role I have done was going to clients and their carers and taking them through a survey. It is a regular activity EPC does to ensure we are offering the best possible care and to see if the clients or carers have suggestions they want to make to us. That was a great experience to be a part of because people were profoundly pleased with the service they received, and really enjoyed the opportunity to feed that back in.
Covid-19 has certainly interrupted almost all of what I could do with EPC. Due to restrictions and the inability to take a lot of this private information away from the office I have had to wait. But EPC has swung other things in to place to keep the volunteers connected with each other, with staff and with the organisation. There was the ‘You’ve got this’ campaign where a volunteer and staff member were linked to support each other, Masterclasses where talented volunteers taught others through Zoom, fortnightly ‘Coffee with the CoV–ids’ sessions which focused on education for us, volunteers even making masks and scrubs for the clinical staff to assist with the provision of PPE.
Volunteering with EPC has been a very rewarding experience. There are so many opportunities to assist in various roles within the organisation that there is something for everyone. And there is a real sense of community amongst us all. Probably even more so with what 2020 has thrown at us.