DURING a time of her life when she should be slowing down, Marie Ellsworth loves keeping busy by volunteering her time to help others.
The vibrant 80-year-old is one of the star volunteers at the Brighton Wellness Hub and the residential aged care facility, where she has been volunteering for more than 30 years.
One of Marie's roles is to ensure everyone who visits the hub feels connected, which has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since COVID, a lot of things has changed. Everybody needs someone at the moment,” she says.
“But I am here to help people when they do need someone or need some company. I’m here to have a chat and listen to them.”
Marie helps staff at the hub plan an array of weekly activities such as card games and line dancing.
She also assists aged care residents when they head out on bus trips to Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, Sea World, Movie World, the horse races and more.
According to Marie, selflessly giving up free time to brighten someone else’s day can give you a new lease on life.
“I love volunteering because it can give you a new attitude to life, and it just makes you feel good about yourself,” she says.
It is her dedication to helping others that has made Marie a much-loved member of the community, and vise versa.
“I am so blessed in this world because I have a lovely family and lovely friends … I have made heaps of friends here,” she says.
“We are like a little family. A lot can change in volunteering, but the people you meet don’t change. I love doing what I do here, and I don’t plan on stopping soon.
“The way I feel about volunteering will never change because I think you get just as much out of volunteering as you put in.”
Brighton Wellness Hub community connections officer Leanne Delaney said the hub would be lost without Marie.
“She always comes in with the right attitude and supports our philosophy about knowing how important it is to engage with our residents and our clients and to help with social connection and minimize isolation,” she said.
The hub is always looking for more volunteers and offers a range of opportunities in various locations to match each person’s skills, interests and activities.
If have time to help, contact COH-Volunteers@health.qld.gov.au for more information.