Singleton resident Gayle Butcher is one of the unsung Hunter residents who quietly go about volunteering with Lifeline so it can help others in the community in need.
Gayle has been volunteering at Lifeline’s Singleton shop for a year. She helps for between six and nine hours a week, usually over two days. A Singleton resident for five years, she also volunteers for another local community organisation.
She finds volunteering for Lifeline very rewarding and an enjoyable place to be.
“There is a great atmosphere in the shop – it is very welcoming for customers and for volunteers,” Gayle said.
“I have also learnt things about working with people and approaching situations from different perspectives.
“There’s no gossiping, just lots of smiles and treating people well, without discrimination.
“Lifeline is a very compassionate organisation. I had a health issue not long after I started volunteering but they were very understanding.
“I don’t drive so the shop manager, Cheryl, or shop worker, Jess, pick me up and drop me back after each shift. Lifeline makes volunteering for them easy.”
Gayle loves interacting with customers and helping them find the things they need. She also knows that the shop is vital in providing funds for Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis support service and other Lifeline Hunter suicide prevention programs.
“Many people don’t know that all the funds from Lifeline shops help the community in that way.
“There have been times in my life when I have struggled, so I want to give back, so it is easy for other people needing help or support. Things are really tough for a lot of people right now.”
Shop Manager Cheryl Weston said Gayle is a great member of the team.
“Gayle is happy to do anything, and goes the extra mile for our shop customers,” Cheryl said.
“She will track items down for them and let them know when they have come in.”
Cheryl urgently needs more volunteers like Gayle to keep the Singleton shop running.
“A few more volunteers will make it easier for our existing volunteers. If people can spare a few hours a week in our shops, we’d love to hear from them. It is a great way to give back and meet new people. We are very flexible in fitting people’s volunteering with us around their other work and family commitments.”
Lifeline is also looking for people wishing to volunteer as crisis supporters for the 13 11 14 service.
Nine Australians die every day by suicide and more than 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt each year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44. Calls to Lifeline are up 25 per cent since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Volunteers like Gayle are helping us to change lives and have someone there for people in the darkest moments,” said Cheryl.
|Lifeline has 11 shops in the Hunter which welcome donations of quality preloved items to resell. Shops are located in Singleton, Cardiff, Hamilton North, East Maitland, Maitland, Morisset, Nelson Bay, Raymond Terrace, Rutherford, Toronto and Wallsend. For locations and opening hours visit www.lifelinehunter.org.au/shops To volunteer with Lifeline call into a shop, phone 1300 152 854, or visit www.lifelinehunter.org.au/get-involved