When Anne and Duncan Ferries retired, they wanted to do something to give back to their community. The Booragoon couple began volunteering at Chorus, delivering meals to customers living independently in their own homes.
“We heard Chorus needed some volunteers and we were looking for a volunteering job,” Anne said.
“This came up and it was for Fridays and Friday was virtually the only day we could do — because we either play golf or look after the grandchildren most of the rest of the week — so it worked in well.”
That was 18 months ago and since then they’ve delivered thousands of meals (prepared at Chorus Palmyra kitchen) to Chorus customers across Perth’s suburbs.
“It’s a really fun job,” Anne said.
What makes volunteering at Chorus so much fun?
“To me, it’s getting to know the people,” Anne said.
“The more you deliver, the more you can strike up conversations and build a relationship with the customers,” Duncan added.
“I remember we were delivering in Applecross and one customer, in his earlier life, had been a farmer. It was really interesting talking to him. We also barracked for the same football club. The gentleman concerned was always so well-dressed and we were interested to get to know him and his background. He invited us to come back and talk to him any time we liked.”
Stopping and having a chat is very much a part of the job when it comes to being a Chorus Kitchen volunteer.
While Anne and Duncan began volunteering with Chorus because they wanted to help their local community, Anne said it has grown into much more than that.
“We’re also bringing a bit of comfort and conversation to someone who is in a house on their own virtually seven days a week,” she said.
“They do have other visitors, including Chorus Gardeners and nurses. But they’re often still lonely. It can sometimes be hard to get away, but we’re very willing to go in and put the food in the fridge or the freezer. You can’t stay forever, but you can stay for five minutes and have a little chat.”
We need more Home and Garden Maintenance volunteers
While Anne and Duncan have been volunteering for a while, Alan Burton has relatively recently become a part of Chorus Home and Garden Maintenance team. He decided to volunteer one day a week because, as he puts it, “my wife wanted to get me out of the house”.
“But I also knew they needed volunteers,” he said.
Alan said a typical day with the home and garden “squad” involves visiting the homes of up to five Chorus customers for about an hour at a time.
“Generally, the customer tells us what they want us to do or, if they don’t, we just try to clear the garden up as much as we can — mowing lawns, weeding, the normal gardening jobs,” he said.
“We only go to these places once every eight weeks, so if someone hasn’t done anything for eight weeks the garden can be a bit of a mess. So we tidy it up and they’re happy with that — it makes their day.
“Sometimes, we finish a little early and maybe we have a cup of tea or a cold drink with the customer. Some of them really like to chat.”
It’s very worthwhile, because you are really helping these people out.”
It’s an opinion Anne and Duncan share.
“You get more out of it than you put in, truly,” Duncan said. “I know it’s an old saying, but it’s the case.”
The pair encouraged anyone thinking about volunteering with Chorus to “do it”.
“You’re a part of the family,” Anne said. “They make you feel very welcome.”
How to volunteer with Chorus
Volunteer work with Chorus is flexible. You can volunteer as a one-off or commit to regular days. We offer volunteering jobs across Perth and WA, including Rockingham, Bunbury and Albany.
Chorus volunteers are encouraged to contribute whatever time they have available, from a few hours a fortnight to a maximum of three days a week.