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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 18

VOLUNTEER UPDATE DAWN

VOLUNTEER UPDATE DAWN BURKE, MSWA COORDINATOR VOLUNTEERS Happy New Year, and welcome to 2018. It’s great to be writing to all of you in this Autumn Edition, and the first Bulletin for the year. This year brings many changes to the ever-evolving MSWA. As many of you may be aware, Wilson will be having a much-needed refurbishment starting in March. These refurbishments have been in the planning stages for many months, and by the time this Bulletin reaches you, they should be in full swing. With it will be some slight chaos, confusion and upheaval. As with any major renovations this is inevitable, but if we trust in the process and go with the flow, the result will be amazing! Please remember it will be business as usual, with some relocation of services within and out of Wilson. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. I would like to thank you for being flexible during this process, which allows for a smoother transition for all concerned. Let’s recap on 2017. What have we been up to here at MSWA? The Cove in Denmark is such a beautiful place to stay and the owners are also willing to do what is necessary to help the camps run smoothly. I tried a few new activities which everyone participated in, some more reluctantly than others, but a good time was had by all. I must say, what a creative bunch the South West Members are! Of course, following on from camp was our annual and best party of the year, the MSWA Members, Volunteers and Staff Christmas Party! We had a new venue this year, which was very cosy and intimate at times. The acts as usual were superb. I don’t usually like to pick a favourite, but I’m afraid this year the ‘Nurses Act of Greek Fountains’ was hilarious and was a step above the rest with a few dampening moments from either the fountains or laughing too much. Take your pick! Thanks again to all the staff and volunteers who helped plan for and set up this event. Events such as this don’t happen on their own and it takes many hands and many hours of hard work to coordinate and organise everything. Many staff were behind the scenes in organising this event, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Donna Hill, Nicola Ryan and Giselle Martin for their part in organising things. I know what you do to make this happen, and on behalf of our volunteers, I wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. A quiet thank you to Kevin who volunteered to don a hot and sweaty red suit – it wouldn’t be the same without you, and your size eight boots. Special thanks to the marvellous QBE staff who have provided volunteers for the last six or more years to help at this party, and always with a smile. So, what has been happening in 2018 so far? 2018 brings with it new volunteers and others wanting to volunteer. I always try to accommodate potential volunteers, but this isn’t always possible. At MSWA we are very blessed to have a dedicated group of volunteers who have been with us for many years. It makes life much easier for myself, Members, and staff, when we retain the same volunteers and have little turnover. Thank you for being loyal and dedicated to MSWA and to the community of people that we serve. You are a testament to yourselves and the volunteering industry at large. Give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it. To our newest volunteers, and we have a few, the MSWA family wishes you a warm welcome and hopes your time here is enjoyable and helps you on your own journey, whichever road that takes. I’m in the planning stages for the National Volunteers’ Luncheon and hope to see all of you at this event. It is MSWA’s way of thanking you for all that you do. I hope you can make it, it will be great to see you there. Keep enjoying this beautiful weather we are having, be safe in all that you do, and remember, I’m only a phone call away 9365 4897. Take care and bye for now. Over the past six or more years MSWA has benefitted from having a dedicated team of QBE Staff volunteering for our Annual Members’ and Volunteers’ Christmas Party. December 2017 was no exception. Once again, they proved invaluable, assisting our Member Services staff to set up the venue, including the tree, to hand out food and beverages, and generally lending a willing hand in any task. They are such a pleasure to work with and we certainly rely on their good will and enthusiasm to make this event a great success. They genuinely love to come along to help and always ask if they can come again next year! Thank you, Team QBE, for supporting MSWA and our efforts. 24 | MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018

BEECHBORO OUTREACH GROUP GISELLE MARTIN, MSWA RELIEF OUTREACH COORDINATOR Beechboro Lodge has finally completed its long-awaited makeover and the results are amazing! Our Members who use the Beechboro facility really advocated for these renovations, to ease the crowding in the physiotherapy gym and create a bigger space for massage. General Manager of Member Services, Sue Shapland and Physiotherapy Manager, Dave Hathorn, were then tasked to make it happen, and after consulting with the staff and Members, plans for renovations began! The start of Summer heralded the beginning of the exciting changes. The old wire fence running at the back of the property, that allowed little privacy and an unattractive view of a carpark, was the first to go. Although most of the fence had been covered in bougainvillea, it was not completely private. This old fence has now been replaced with a tall colorbond model with beautiful trim, adding the wow factor whilst increasing security. Friday, 15 December was the last day of Outreach for 2017, and it was all hands-on deck to pack up the building. Now that our outdoor area was privately secured, all of the physiotherapy equipment was hauled outside to clear the way for the walls and floors to be done. Outreach and the allied health offices were boxed up and furniture relocated. You should have seen Brenda’s kitchen – it was full to the brim! As the only room not undergoing changes, it was the main place to store everything, aside from outside. A very special thank you goes out to all the wonderful staff from across the different teams, who all lent a hand throughout this huge task. Once the colossal task of packing everything up was done, Joseph Jangi, our ever-trusty handyman and builder, set to the task of knocking down and rebuilding walls. He personally NORTHAM SUPPORT GROUP worked tirelessly for four weeks, over the Christmas break, as well as coordinating the various contractors to ensure the timelines were met. When all returned to work on Monday, 15 January, we had our socks knocked right off. We didn’t realise how much work he had planned to do and were stunned by the professional finish in every aspect. The first thing you notice as you step in the door, is the original old grey carpet has been replaced by a warm wood laminate surface throughout the main area and into the physiotherapy gym. This has lightened the area and gives the illusion of a much larger space. As you step in the door the smell of fresh paint wafts through, drawing your eyes to the shiny new lacquer that reflects from our walls and feature cornices, all lit up by new downlights. The physio gym room is now more spacious and impressive, after the wall to the old massage room was removed, and the area made into one big space. The massage room has been relocated to the other side of the building and is also a larger room, achieved by relocating a wall. All the offices have been shuffled about and you may need to pop your head in to find out who is where. The counselling and consulting room has also had a furniture makeover and will be repainted in due course. The first day was just as big as the pack up day. Whilst we had less staff for this exercise, due to unforeseen circumstances, the staff worked double time to get things sorted before the Members started arriving at 8.30am. Things have settled down nicely now after a few weeks, and everyone, staff and Members alike, are really enjoying our fresh new facility. SARAH LORRIMAR, MSWA COORDINATOR OF HEALTH EDUCATION AND PEER SUPPORT Every three months, I eagerly travel up to Northam with MSWA Counsellor, Cherry Chapman for a Peer Support Group, which includes Members from Northam and surrounds. Meeting us up there is MS Nurse, Dee Menzies, and we often have a guest visit from an allied health team member. Our most recent visit to Northam was in February at the Bridgeley Community Centre, with seven Members attending. The group began by catching up on their Christmas break, which included a spontaneous adventure of driving across Australia in a caravan! It was interesting to hear the group’s different perspectives and experiences of travel. The group was then asked if they had any topics or questions they would like to discuss. One of the Members had thoughtfully prepared a list of questions which began an engaging Q&A session, including topics such as cooling garments, medications, recent media coverage of MS, the NDIS, and exercise. After some morning tea, I gave a short presentation on brain health. This included an overview of why it is important for people living with MS to maintain their brain health, and suggested tips to help incorporate this into everyday life. To put some of these tips into practice, the group worked in pairs to complete a fatigue diary to help plan their day and completed some fun brain puzzles to challenge the brain. To end the afternoon, we discussed upcoming MSWA events and what Members would like for the next support group meeting. Based on the feedback, it looks like we will next be travelling up with one of our speech pathologists. MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2018 | 25