- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:22
A part of Uniting Care Queensland, Blue Care is one of Australia’s largest providers of community health and residential aged care. Blue Care services include Blue Nursing, allied health care, community care packages, residential aged care services, respite services and volunteer support services. Services are provided to all members of the community regardless of socio-economic, ethnic, religious or spiritual background. The people assisted include the elderly, younger people with disabilities and others in need in the community. To maintain their wide range of services Blue Care relies on the work of volunteers who support staff, clients and their caring team. Blue Care has over 2,000 volunteers and have been assisting people in the community for over 50 years. The contribution of their volunteers plays a vital role in providing complimentary services.
Engaging volunteers from culturally diverse backgrounds
Blue Care engages volunteers from culturally diverse backgrounds because without them, it would not be possible to provide the variety of programs that they do. The volunteers are people from the communities of the clients who they provide a service to, and so have a full understanding of their needs and can communicate this effectively. They are an asset to the programs as they assist with communication between clients, staff and other volunteers. They can understand and speak many languages and dialects which helps to break down any communication barriers that may occur. They also bring a different point of view and their own ‘story’ to the programs that they work in which allows the other workers to obtain insights into their clients cultures that they would not otherwise be easily able to do.
Strategies that have helped engage and retain volunteers from culturally diverse backgrounds
Recruit staff and volunteers from the cultural communities of the clients. Usually these communities are very close and by having someone who is engaged with the community, brings trust and friendships. They are able to assist with identifying the needs of the clients, and ensuring this is communicated effectively to all involved in the programs, especially those that do not speak the language.
Encourage volunteers and clients to bring family members to the programs. This helps to increase the social aspect of the group but also allows clients, carers and volunteers to continue to attend when family obligations may inhibit them, such as schools holidays where they may have been involved with child minding.
Find out more about Blue Care