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Volunteer Week case study two

27 November 2007


Volunteer Week case study two – Lisa Joe and Anne-Marie Murphy

Come summer, Lisa Joe and Anne-Marie Murphy will raid Lisa's organic vegetable garden and prepare themselves a feast.

The two North Shore women share a love of food and cooking and since they met, six months ago, Lisa has been introducing Annie to different cuisines. The pair met through IHC's Volunteer or "buddy" programme.

Annie, 54, lives with three male flatmates in an IDEA Services home in Beach Haven so her Saturday outings with public relations consultant Lisa, 32, are an opportunity to do girl's stuff – with a bit of sushi and yum cha thrown in. Lisa lives 15 minutes away in Northcote Point.

Any age gap between Lisa and Annie is outweighed by what they have in common. "I have many girlfriends who are Annie's age. "Annie is a fun-loving single lass; so am I," Lisa says.

"When we were first brought together it was through a mutual love of cooking and doing things about the house." Lisa says she loves gardening and Annie enjoys arts and crafts.

"I have just taken up the hobby of cheese making and Annie is very interested in hearing about it."

Since they have become friends, Lisa has found that she and Annie share other interests. "She loves to read, as I do, and she loves to walk, as I do."

Both women are gregarious. "Annie is quite a storyteller," Lisa says. "Sometimes I can't recognise fact from fiction – we spend a lot of time laughing."

Annie says she can't wait to start cooking. "I would like to cook scones or maybe little cakes. Lisa says she is going to do lots of things for me. I am going to her place to learn how to make diabetic food.

"We love to go shopping and cooking. We like to go out to morning tea and lunch and afternoon tea."

Lisa was encouraged to become a volunteer by her friend Jodie Molloy. "The night that Jodie first met her buddy, I also saw Jodie. She was really buzzing from that meeting and it sounded intriguing to me."

A month after Jodie signed on as a volunteer, Lisa followed. She is impressed by how IHC manages to find the right buddies for people with intellectual disabilities. "The programme isn't just putting together any two people. It's like a social match-making service. They work very hard to make sure the buddies are compatible."

Now Lisa is trying to sign up other friends to the buddy scheme and was in the process of convincing a golfing friend to join the scheme because North Shore IHC volunteer co-ordinator Sharon Phelan was trying to find someone a golfing buddy.

She can understand, however, why people might be reluctant to volunteer. "I don't think it's for everyone – just as the game of tennis isn't for everyone." But IHC training prepared volunteers to handle various situations that might arise, including health problems.

"You have got to have a predisposition for wanting to support somebody in that way, if that is required. It can be a little scary I suppose."

Annie is diabetic and Lisa is encouraging her to think about the foods she can enjoy eating. "Annie and I are preparing a recipe book together of all her favourite recipes." And their summer feast is just around the corner.


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