Volunteering with Inclusion Melbourne – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
- The first step is to do some research. You need to consider if Inclusion Melbourne is the right organization for you. Additionally, you need to determine whether you have the motivation and time available to make the commitment required to volunteer with Inclusion Melbourne, which includes weekly or fortnightly contact with your match (dependent on the role), completing training and providing feedback.
- If you think volunteering is right for you and you would like to volunteer with Inclusion Melbourne, then complete the expression of interest form at the end of the volunteer online information session
- You will be contacted by a Community Support Coordinator who will discuss current opportunities with you
- There are a number of forms to be completed and you will need to participate in an interview, either face to face or over the phone and provide the names and phone numbers of two professional referees
- Forms you need to read and complete, and other tasks required include:
- National police check online which is free of charge
- Disability workers exclusion scheme check
- Driver declaration
- Application and personal details
- Read and sign a position description
- Read and sign a code of conduct
- Read and sign a statutory declaration if you have resided in or been a citizen of a country other than Australia since the age of 16
- Publications consent
- Upon completion of the recruitment process, your Community Support Coordinator will begin working on matching you to a recipient
- The matching process may take some time because a number of factors must be considered, including shared interests, cultural and linguistic diversity, community, locality and the number of recipients waiting for a volunteer at any one time
2.1 Leisure Buddies
- As a Leisure Buddy volunteer, you are carefully matched with an adult with an intellectual disability – your buddy.
- Your role as the volunteer is to build a mutually rewarding and enduring friendship with your buddy through shared outings and activities in the community. Activities might include exercising together, eating out, visiting places of interest and enjoying music or film together. There are many other possibilities!
- As a Leisure Buddy volunteer, you will also support your buddy to achieve goals such as enhancing confidence and social skills, developing interests and communication, developing skills and independence and enjoying more social inclusion. There will also be lots of fun along the way!
- Therefore, buddies are matched taking into account where you both live and your shared interests.
- Buddies usually catch up regularly for a minimum of two hours weekly or fortnightly, mainly on the weekends.
- At present the municipalities where we target our recruitment for Leisure Buddy matches are Glen Eira, Stonnington, Port Phillip, Boroondara, Yarra, Bayside, Monash, Whitehorse, Kingston, City of Melbourne, Brim bank, Melton and Maribyrnong
2.2 Community Visitors (for the elderly)
Community visitors provide friendship to older people experiencing loneliness and social isolation. The Community Visitor Scheme is an Australian government program that aims to reduce or prevent the impact of social isolation amongst older Australians.
Participants must be receiving a Commonwealth funded age care package and be referred to us by their aged care provider.
Inclusion Melbourne auspices this program and our role is to:
- Recruit, train and support Community Visitors;
- Match Community Visitors to participants; and
- Support the relationship between you and your participant
You are matched based on interests, needs and locality. Community visitors spend approximately 2 hours a week with an older person, doing an enjoyable activity together, either at a participant’s home, in their local community or in a residential aged care facility.
If this role interests you, you must be willing to have an influenza injection and provide evidence of this at interview stage.
Some of the activities that you might engage in include:
- outings to cafes, galleries, or other places of interest;
- going for a walk;
- friendly in-home visits;
- friendly visits at an residential care residential facility; or
- A regular social chat on the phone or a video call.
The Volunteer counselling program is unique to Inclusion Melbourne and was established in the early 2000’s, after recognising a need for this type of service for people with an intellectual disability.
Volunteer counsellors hold an accredited tertiary qualification relevant to counselling work and provide flexible, confidential, person centred and strength-based counselling support to meet individual needs.
Volunteer counsellors work within a well-defined program of counselling practice at Inclusion Melbourne and are allocated a counsellor/peer mentor for regular professional support as well as attend quarterly counsellor/peer support meetings.
The counsellor/peer support meetings review lessons learnt and refine practice to continually improve and update the Inclusion Melbourne counselling practice processes.
Counsellors help participants achieve a range of individual goals, such as increasing self-esteem, dealing with grief, improving relationships, confidence enhancing and coping skills.
Sessions are organised and scheduled directly with participants and are usually for one hour, once per week or fortnight. Sessions are held at the participant’s home, at Inclusion Melbourne’s offices, or in a private community space, depending on the preference of the participant.
2.4 Classroom tutors
Classroom tutors assist students with an intellectual disability who are studying for pre-accredited and nationally accredited qualifications
Training is conducted in classrooms located in East Malvern and Sunshine and learning programs are delivered by qualified trainers at Inclusion Melbourne’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) Inclusion Training.
Volunteers work 1:1 with students, usually for one day a week during weekdays. The number of hours of tutoring can be negotiated, however a full day (approx. 5 hours) is the preferred option.
Volunteers may assist more than one student in the classroom during sessions to complete a range of learning programs such as literacy, numeracy, communication and basic computer skills.
2.5 Project volunteers
- From time to time Inclusion Melbourne may seek volunteer support to assist with projects, such as marketing, events and administration support
- Support may be requested by one of the departments at Inclusion Melbourne and the Community Support team will advertise for a suitably qualified volunteer
- The minimum commitment to connect with your matched recipient is for 12 months. However, it is always a preference that there will be a longer term commitment, with the potential to develop into a lasting and continuous relationship in the life of the recipient
As a volunteer there are a number of important responsibilities. They include:
- All volunteers once recruited, must complete an induction session. If you are a Community Visitor Scheme (CVS) volunteer, then you will need to complete an online induction session specific to the aged care sector and your role. The CVS online induction session is hosted by Multiple Sclerosis Limited and will take approximately 30 mins to complete
- For all other volunteers you are required to complete the NDIS New Worker induction module online session (This will take approx. 20 -45 mins to complete) and also attend Inclusion Melbourne’s induction session. (This is currently a 1.5 hour session on Zoom)
- This will ensure that you have all the required information you need to help you get to know your match and best support them during your time volunteering. Also from time to time, there will be specialist training available that we encourage you to participate in
- Keep in regular touch with your community support coordinator. If you have any concerns, you must not hesitate to contact your support coordinator to get their advice and support.
- Report to your community support coordinator every month about your contact with your match; how many times you visited and a brief overview of what you did on your visit. This information is very important as we are required to report monthly statistics to our funding bodies.
- During your first three months, we require you to provide reporting after each contact visit. Once settled into your relationship,, a general update about your contact once per month is sufficient. We try to make it as easy as possible for you to provide an update. Currently we require you to send a simple email or text message to your support coordinator.
- Note: we are working on the development of more efficient and effective reporting and will keep in touch about reporting requirements in the future.
Here are some examples of current reporting using emails or text to keep us informed:
Hi Simone – An email to let you know I caught up with Ernie five times this month. Three catch ups were face to face and two were over the phone as restrictions were implemented. Ernie shared a lot about his career driving trucks which was great and we looked up truck photos on my phone. Then I read a Ned Kelly book to him. Will follow up with you again at the end of next month. Take care – Ron Email from FV
Hi Ori – I phoned Mandy 3 times this month and I called her 2 times. She is doing well and so am I. Thanks – Jess Text from LB
Hey Lorraine – I sent Marge a letter each week but no reply as she isn’t able to. I will be in contact with feedback next month – Sanjit Text
Simone I’m loving my time with students and staff. Everyone is really supportive. This is my fourth week and I can’t wait to get back after the holidays. Look after yourself – Mia Text from Tutor.
- Community Visitors are required in most cases to have had the influenza vaccine and ensure that they have it every year. We required evidence of initial and annual vaccination. Any issues will be discussed on a case by case basis.
- If you use your car for volunteering, then your car must be insured. It is strongly recommended that you have full comprehensive insurance.
- You will be required to completed a ‘Driver declaration form’ and provide evidence that your car is insured. It is recommended that you check with your insurance company whether there is any restriction related to using your car for work/volunteering purposes
- Being punctual and reliable is very important. Keep to your promises and always be on time for a planned catch up.
- Excellent communication and listening skills
- Being able to volunteer on a regular basis
- A genuine interest in helping others and making a difference
- Ability to empathise with another person
- Having a sense of responsibility and accountability
- Displays common sense and as practical approach
- How Inclusion Melbourne supports adults with an intellectual disability and socially isolated elderly people
- Best practice approaches to support inclusion, contribution and participation when working with adults with a cognitive disability
- Communication strategies that support inclusion and participation for adults with a cognitive disability
- What is expected of you and what you can expect from Inclusion Melbourne
- Your rights and responsibilities as a volunteer
- Dealing with incidents
- Yes. All volunteers except the Friendly Visitors must also complete the NDIS Commission – Introduction to the Worker Orientation Module accessible online.
- Friendly visitors must also complete Community Visitor online training developed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Your Community Support Coordinator will book you into the course and send you the link to complete online
- From time to time additional training will be offered on varied topics related to volunteering or specialist subjects such as autism, dementia etc.
- You will be assigned a Community Support Coordinator who will be your key contact. You can contact your Community Support Coordinator at any time during business hours if needed, noting that the Community Support Coordinators work part time.
- Routine monthly catch ups will be scheduled with your Community Support Coordinators to debrief
- You will be provided with relevant and confidential information pertaining to the person/s you are matched with
- You are covered by Inclusion Melbourne’s Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance
- Inclusion Melbourne routinely seeks your feedback anonymously on opportunities for improvement and what is working well. This feedback is discussed at regular team meetings with the aim of making improvements where needed.
- We will keep you updated by email about news, events and activities related to volunteering that you may be interested in participating in. For example celebrating National Volunteer week
- It is well known the benefits for recipients in having volunteer support. Some of those same benefits apply to those who volunteer. There is a significant body of research that highlights the benefits of volunteering. See this Sydney University article that discusses some interesting research findings
- Your volunteering contact will be guided by the government rules published and in place at the time.
- For Stage 4 restrictions all contact is required to be remote, by phone, text, letter or digitally if that is possible
- Volunteers will need to check in with aged care providers, family or their Community Support Coordinator to seek guidance if required
- The same level of contact during non COVID restrictions is required, however we understand for some there will be barriers that will need to managed on a case by case basis