David Brown, Volunteer

I have been volunteering at Bethlehem’s Day Centre for seven years. The Day Centre is part of our Community Palliative Care Service, which supports patients and their carers in their own homes and communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic we have been getting together on Zoom twice a week to chat, sing songs, and do the occasional art project when lockdowns permitted. Prior to the pandemic we held in-person day sessions that provided more of a break away from home and a respite for carers. The patients, staff and volunteers all value our time together. Many of our patients have been with the centre for years, despite their life-limiting illness, and we have forged strong connections over time. I have also been involved in preparing Bethlehem’s annual report and, in pre-pandemic times, photographing the staff and patients.

When I left full-time employment I was committed to finding a volunteering role but had trouble deciding what sort of work I wanted to do. The challenge of living and dying well had been a central concern of my life for some time, and at some point I realised that palliative care seemed to be just the right thing. The mission of Calvary Health Care, being for others, is also a key principle of my Buddhist practice. Being with the patients, staff and other volunteers has been a real pleasure and the time commitment has fitted in nicely with my other projects and pastimes.


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