An aged care provider has embarked on a facility-based volunteer program with its suppliers in a bid to source better products and services for its residents.
The Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution welcomed more than 30 corporate volunteers into 12 facilities in NSW and the ACT this month to spend the day with residents and participate in activities.
RFBI CEO Frank Price said inviting suppliers to join residents for the day allowed them to experience firsthand how their support, services and products helped older community members.
“From this experience hopefully they will get some ideas to determine what products or services they could provide,” Mr Price told Australian Ageing Agenda.
Suppliers might draw on their existing offerings or see a shortfall in the market they could fulfil, he said.
The corporate volunteers came from a range of organisations including those who provide insurance, workers’ compensation and office supplies, and mainly from the senior ranks, Mr Price said.
They typically visited the facility from 10am until 4pm where they met residents, assisted with meals and took part in activities such as using Google Earth to discover more about where people came from, going out on trips, and watching “a dance off” between staff, he said.
“We left with a renewed sense of perspective around the challenges facing many in our communities and an appreciation of the contribution that organisations such as RFBI make to address these,” said Jolyon Roderick from Suncorp, who visited RFBI’s Concord Community Hostel.
“Spending time at RFBI Goulburn Masonic Village was such a rewarding experience. The RFBI team there are wonderful carers and I truly felt like I was part of the team for the day,” said Nathan Jukes from Auslec.
Based on the positive feedback from all involved, Mr Price said they were now formalising and expanding the initiative.
The corporate volunteer program aims to improve the quality of life of residents and give suppliers a better understanding of the people and business they are servicing, he said.
“People lose human interaction as they get older. They get to see the same people all the time and this gives them an opportunity to meet new people,” he said.
“From the supplier’s perspective, as a partner to the business they need to better understand the challenges we face and also understand the sort of company they are doing business with.”
It also prepared staff for the future increase in volunteers RFBI has on its agenda to draw a variety of people to facilities from the Masonic network, local suppliers and the wider community, Mr Price said.
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