A place to belong and give

WayFairer Project eases retirement transition through volunteering


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LOOKING TO GIVE BACK: Pioneering WayFairers Steve Gerreyn, Debra Gerreyn, Helen Foley and Vivita Tayal at the launch of the project.

LOOKING TO GIVE BACK: Pioneering WayFairers Steve Gerreyn, Debra Gerreyn, Helen Foley and Vivita Tayal at the launch of the project.

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Project matches retirees with volunteering roles.

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Retirement can come as a shock to those used to a busy working life.

Adam Nankin, a consultant with not-for-profit organisation Inclusion Solutions, said people can find themselves facing an unexpected void.

“You can struggle to find a sense of belonging and crave to use your brain again,” he said.

The WayFairer Project will match seniors to specific volunteering roles which best use their skills and interests.

Volunteers aged primarily between 50 and 70 will be connected to community groups, schools and clubs in need of help.

The Town of Cambridge is undertaking the pilot project in partnership with Inclusion Solutions.

“It can be challenging for retirees to find roles that help them remain valued and connected to the community,” Adam said.

“This demographic is growing and we need to find ways of ending social isolation and harnessing the skills and knowledge of older people.

“In other cultures, older people are revered and their knowledge is passed down.

“Our aim is to provide meaningful volunteering experiences for retirees who are looking for a valued role and this in turn will enrich the community.

“Both the person gifting their time and talents and the community group will benefit.”

A co-ordinator will ensure the WayFairer is welcomed and included in the group or club they have been matched with.

A gap analysis is being carried out to find out what groups in Cambridge need to strengthen their organisation and 15 seniors from the area are being recruited to fill those needs.

Applications are being accepted until mid-January.

“What we are finding is that as well as helpers at certain events, what is needed are volunteers able to mentor younger, more inexperienced committee members and to develop high-level strategic plans,” Adam said.

“The same thing could be done in any local government area and we would like to do it nationally.”

Details – (08) 9443-7226, 0413-420-499, adam.nankin@inclusionsolutions.org.au, or cambridge.wa.gov.au

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