The Foundation’s extremely fortunate to have an active group of volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to our activities across our villages, day centres and community services. We’re very appreciative of our volunteers, who gift their time to help create a wonderful sense of belonging and connectedness within our Selwyn communities.
Many of our independent living residents volunteer in the villages, generously offering their skills and energies for the benefit of their fellow villagers. At Selwyn Village, John and Diane Alexander are members of a large team of resident volunteers who support the effective running of the village’s shopping outlets, the Mini-Mart, Gift Shop and Treasure Chest (the proceeds of the latter two are subsequently donated to further expand the range of leisure and other amenities that are available to those who call the village home).
Residents since 2012, John and Diane very much work as a team across everything they do. They play a key role in the successful operation of the three shops, making sure that there’s always a plentiful supply of items to choose from and at value-for-money prices. John heads a team of some 20 volunteers across the Mini-Mart and Treasure Chest, both of which are well utilised by residents, staff, friends and family alike. During this year’s COVID lockdowns, the Mini-Mart in particular provided an important service, with its supply of good quality frozen meals for villagers who were self-isolating at home. With a background in sales and marketing, John arranges the procurement of the stock from a well-known food retailer and applies his considerable negotiating skills to keep prices competitive with the local supermarket. Having added a new fridge/freezer cabinet offering the capacity to hold larger stocks, and installed an EFTPOS payment system, John sees great potential for the store’s turnover and is looking to expand the service further, offering yet more convenience and value for his customers.
John’s retail experience has also benefitted the village’s Aladdin’s cave of ‘pre-loved’ items, which he revamped and renamed the ‘Treasure Chest’ in 2013, having organised its relocation from a previously less visible position within the community centre to more spacious premises in the main shopping arcade. He and his team of independent living volunteers staff this thriving and profitable venture which has also diversified into the sale of quality, second-hand furniture gifted by incoming residents or family members.
Always appreciative of new volunteers to help behind the counter or with the pricing or displaying of stock, the team’s especially proud that the fruits of their labour can be seen in the various items of new equipment and services that the Treasure Chest’s surpluses have funded for the village. It’s a long list: two resident transport buggies, specialist seniors’ exercise equipment for the Strength and Wellness studio (as well as a subsidy towards the assessment fee for residents wishing to join), equipment for the Men’s Shed and the café conservatory, a rain water collection system for independent residents’ raised gardens and contributions to resident and staff social functions, to name just a few of the projects that have benefitted. All in all, the Treasure Chest has donated significantly to the village community, all thanks to its committed and loyal volunteer group.