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Volunteers return to Peninsula Health

Karen Budden (right), the first volunteer to return to Peninsula Health since 2020, welcomed back by Library Manager Janet Thompson (left).

It was all smiles across Peninsula Health this week, with volunteers returning to the health service for the first time since early 2020.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our 700+ dedicated volunteers and consumer representatives have been unable to come on-site and provide assistance to both staff and patients. 

However, that all changed on Tuesday when Karen Budden proudly walked through the doors of Frankston Hospital.

“It’s so exciting to be back, I am just so happy,” says Karen, who volunteers at both our Library and Infusion Centre. 

“I’ve really missed it here – particularly the companionship you get through volunteering, working with other people and feeling as if you’re doing something to help the bigger picture. It’s great to be back.”

Karen began volunteering at Peninsula Health as a Patient Companion back in 2017, before later joining our Library and Infusion Centre.

Her roles in the Library are vast. Today, her major contribution comes in the form of processing, preparing and re-shelving hard-copy books that are used by every health discipline across the organisation and the clinical work of those staff. Karen has also contributed significantly to the digitisation of historical documents that were not previously accessible, including organisational reports, letters, hand-written notes and certificates – a role she continues now and again. 

“From the minute I walked in the door at the Library, it was one of my favourite places to be,” says Karen. 

“I love the atmosphere and I really enjoy what I do here. I find it really peaceful.”

Joy across the health service

Karen isn’t the only one excited for volunteers to be back. Our Library Manager, Janet Thompson, shares the joy.

“We are delighted that Karen has re-joined us as the first volunteer returning to Peninsula Health,” says Janet.

“We have missed her enormously over the past year. She is an integral part of our Library team, and Peninsula Health is fortunate that she decided to become a volunteer at Frankston Hospital.”

“Importantly, Karen is not just a colleague – she is a close friend.”

Peninsula Health Volunteer Program Manager, Helen Wilson, is similarly thrilled.

“It is wonderful to begin welcoming back our volunteers, who have been so understanding and supportive throughout the pandemic,” says Helen.   

“Their safety, and the safety of our patients, has been and still is our main concern – which is why we are using a staged approach starting with volunteers and programs deemed low risk in non-patient facing areas with the ability for physical distancing.”

“We are hoping that all volunteer programs will be active again by mid-year and look forward to recruiting new members to our teams.”

Find out more about volunteering at Peninsula Health: https://www.peninsulahealth.org.au/community-participation/volunteers-auxiliaries/