A HELPING HAND: Volunteer John Nipperess assists client Janice Diehm.
A HELPING HAND: Volunteer John Nipperess assists client Janice Diehm. Ashleigh Howarth

Here's how you can help Ipswich's elderly

SPRINGFIELD'S John Nipperess is driven to help others.

He volunteers two days a week with STAR Care Queensland and Ipswich community transport organisation CODI where he drives elderly residents from their homes to social and medical appointments.

The retired Ipswich resident said it was a great way to give back to the community.

"I really like driving so I thought this would be a great thing to do," he said.

"All the staff here and the clients are very friendly, so you do build up a rapport with them.

"You find most of the clients just want someone to talk to about what is happening with them.

"I think they are very appreciative of what we do for them."

Not only does he transport clients around Ipswich and Brisbane, but he has also started taking clients out for day trips.

"A few weeks ago I took half a dozen clients out for a bus trip out to Boonah," he said.

"For most of these people, especially the elderly, they spend a lot of time at home. If they do go out, it's only to the doctors.

"So it's important for them to get out and see the countryside and be with other people."

He has only been helping out for four months but he absolutely loves it.

The same goes for Kaylene Forbes, who volunteers her time each Wednesday to two STAR clients. She meets with them to have a coffee and the chance to help the other with their weekly groceries in her role as a companionship volunteer.

While she provides just a few hours a week of her time, to those clients, her visits mean the world.

"What we do for some of these people is very important," she said.

"For some, we might be the only person they see all week and they are lonely.

"We offer them a chance to get out of the house, to do something different."

It is this kind of enthusiasm and dedication to helping the community which STAR Queensland and CODI are hoping to find in others.

The organisation are desperately looking for more volunteer drivers, administration staff and those who can provide companionship to their hundreds of clients.

STAR general manager Patsy Wilshire said volunteers were vital to their organisation's success.

"Volunteers are the backbone of our community," she said.

"We need more volunteers to help us in delivering these much-needed services to support Ipswich's elderly and those with disabilities."

In addition to the opportunity to give back to the community, volunteers can enjoy flexible hours and full training and support is provided.

STAR and CODI have opened a new office at Shop 1, 5 Jacaranda St, Booval.

If you would like to volunteer, phone STAR on 38216699 or log on to www.starcommunity services.org.au.

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