A very warm welcome back to all our volunteers! Firstly, I would like to acknowledge how challenging last year was, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and most of all thank you for your dedication in the face of much uncertainty and, at times, ever-changing requirements for your roles. I was so touched by everyone’s efforts and heartened how caring and supportive of each other people were as we continued assisting people with cancer on the Sunshine Coast. It really is an incredible community our volunteers have at Bloomhill!

Whether you were driving clients to appointments, cooking or serving meals in our café, running markets, helping enforce COVID-19 safety practices at our sites, working in op-shops, Distribution centre of Cotton Tree market, raising funds and community awareness, assisting with daily operations at the wellness centre or a myriad of other roles our volunteers perform – we thank you! Bloomhill would not be here without you! As all of you know, volunteers are incredibly important to Bloomhill, and we are so grateful to you as individuals, for your generosity. I know the community of clients who benefit from our health and wellness programs feel your support and love every time they walk through the doors at the wellness centre.

I hope everyone had a genuine break over the festive period and was able to recharge their batteries.

I’m very relieved that it seems some level of normality will soon be able to be restored and we can focus a lot more on our traditional roles. However, we need to remain vigilant against COVID-19, especially given the high risk it poses to our clients. It is imperative that we maintain hand hygiene, social distancing, undertake COVID-19 testing and follow on all other directives so we can keep everyone safe and well. Thanks to your outstanding compliance we can all enjoy easing of restrictions and serve as a model to those countries that are yet to find a balance between COVID-19 safety and everyday life.

Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for your openness and willingness to come back and continue working with us. In 2021 we are in a rebuilding phase and will strive to connect with each and every one, convey our love and appreciation and celebrate volunteering. How we do this will be largely determined by COVID-19 and the role out of the vaccine. As always, we are looking forward and we’d love to hear from you if you are contemplating coming back. If there is anything we can do to assure you of the positive and rewarding experience of volunteering please get in touch.

Finally, I’d like to farewell Val Dreghorn, our Volunteer Services Admin Officer, who is well known to many of you and who will be leaving Bloomhill on 9 February to retire. Val has been working at Bloomhill for the last 12 years and is a very valued member of the Bloomhill team. Her contribution has been enormous and she will be greatly missed!

We wish Val all the happiness at her retirement with many hours of joyful play with her beautiful grandchildren and plentiful fishing.

I would also like to welcome Sue Phillips who will be taking on the position of Volunteer Services Admin Officer in a casual capacity, for now until the review process is completed. Sue has over 30 years’ experience working as an office administrator, events coordinator

and executive assistant and has worked for well-known organisations, including CSIRO, the University of Western Australia and Local Government.

Sue joined Bloomhill as a volunteer in the Bloomhill Centre in May 2020 and we are looking forward to benefiting from Sue’s vast knowledge and experience.