Volunteers take load off

WHILE many people know about the Palliative Care Volunteer Support Service, another home visiting scheme is on offer for new mums and dads.

It can be overwhelming being a new parent, and luckily, Community Programs Incorporated operates a program known as the Volunteer Home Visiting Scheme.

As a part of this program, volunteers visit new parents with 0-3-year-old children about once a week. It started in 2000 and continues to grow.

Volunteers visit throughout the district from Iluka to Corindi and as far west as Copmanhurst.

The program organiser, Libby Shearer, is a firm believer in the program and believes that it is a vital resource for new parents in the Clarence Valley.

“All of our volunteers are formally trained in a range of skills including communication skills, the recognition of boundaries, parenting and child development and problem solving.

“They act as a support base, not a baby sitting service,” Ms Shearer said.

The program is designed for a support system similar to what a friendly neighbour would provide, with a social aspect added to the visit.

“Our service also offers help for parents who are suffering from post-natal depression and introduce coping skills to the family,” she said.

“The volunteers also do not give unwanted advice and adapt to the parenting skills of the household staying true to how the family wants to operate.”

The government-funded service is free and anyone in need can become a client, with no eligibility test or income check and no referral needed.

A Families in Touch Morning Tea is also held on a regular basis for parents and volunteers to get together.

If you are interested in becoming a client of the free service, or becoming a volunteer, contact Libby Shearer on 6642 7257.

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