New residents jump into volunteering at EGHS

Husband and wife team David and Lynda Clayton jumped straight into volunteering after moving to Ararat from Queensland and have become valued volunteers at East Grampians Health Service and other organisations in Ararat.

The couple made enquiries about volunteering at EGHS mid-2023 and began work in August of the same year, with David volunteering two and a half days at the Patricia Hinchey Centre and half a day at 70 Lowe Street, and Lynda volunteering at Patricia Hinchey Centre on Tuesdays.

Both also volunteer at Consumer Representatives, reviewing and commenting on EGHS publications such as the Consumer Bedside Booklet and Hospital in the Home, as and when required.

“My key duties at the Patricia Hinchey Centre involve driving the buses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, picking up our consumers and delivering them to the centre for the day and then taking them home again, as well as helping at a Men’s Group on Wednesday, while at Lowe Street I have started a Men’s Group, leading towards the goal of a workshop to create wooden toys and other items for sale at our local markets,” David said.

Lynda assists with morning tea, lunch, afternoon teas, games, activities, and some external outings for the consumers at Patricia Hinchey Centre.

Both David and Lynda find volunteering extremely rewarding.

“Just knowing how much your help is appreciated by the staff and how much the consumers enjoy seeing a familiar face arriving in the morning to collect them is very rewarding,” David said.

“Going home at the end of the day, enriched in the knowledge that you have been able to ‘give back’ to the community, is motivation to keep going.”

While volunteering is rewarding, it also comes with its challenges.

David said seeing a decline in the health of a consumer, and trying to remain somewhat emotionally unattached, can be hard.

David enjoys all aspects of volunteering but is most proud of his Men’s Group contribution.

“Enriching the lives of both Men’s Groups, just by listening and talking to them about subjects that interest them, has been very rewarding,” he said.

David has met many interesting people during his interactions with consumers at EGHS.

“Katie is a devoted Geelong Cats supporter. Her smile is wonderful, and her first question for me every Tuesday morning is ‘Is your wife coming today?’. Another consumer I enjoy interacting with is Bert, who has an extraordinary memory and always asks how my children and grandchildren are going, and then there’s Bernie, who has a fascination with caps, always looking to ‘do a trade’ with me!” he said.

David’s message to anyone considering volunteering is to get involved.

“Volunteering is the most rewarding and enjoyable thing you can do with your time,” he said.

“There are numerous institutions that need help. You only need to give a little bit of your time.

“Lynda and I also volunteer with the Ararat Show Society, with last year being the return after a four-year absence.

“It is also a great way to meet new people, especially for us being ex Queenslanders, new to the area.”

If you would like to enquire about volunteering or being a consumer partner at EGHS, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Hannah Jennings in 5352 9481 or email

There are many areas to offer your services across the health service’s campuses in Ararat and Willaura, as well as four auxiliaries, who volunteer on site, and arrange fundraising events to support various areas of the health service.

Pictured are David and Lynda Clayton chatting with a consumer at EGHS’s Patricia Hinchey Centre, where they both volunteer