When fighting fires and supporting disabilities collide
At just 30 years of age and a full-time fire fighter, Jason is not your average volunteer. He gives up his spare time for Northside, an independent, not-for-profit organisation based at Chatswood which connects people – including the disabled, the elderly and their carers – to essential services.
There are currently around 70,000 people in need of Northside’s services and to deliver them they are in desperate need of more volunteers like Jason.
And while he admits most of his mates spend their spare time relaxing with friends and family, Jason enjoys spending time with members of his Northside “family” who he knows may not receive any other human contact.
He said despite his busy schedule and shift work with Fire & Rescue NSW, he is still able to make time to help.
“A lot of the people I assist are so isolated, they mainly have physical disabilities and are very independent they just need help with getting out of their homes. If they don’t drive they can find it really difficult to get around. Such a small task for me can make such a huge difference to their lives,” he said.
“I really do enjoy spending time with them and I’m sure I get as much out of it as they do. They have become my mates and it’s something I really enjoy doing.
“Northside offers outings to places like the movies, yoga, markets, even to the local shopping centre – things we all take for granted but can be extremely difficult for others. But more importantly we provide that vital personal contact they so badly need. Taking the time to not only talk but to listen is so important.
“To be honest I enjoy helping out so much that my girlfriend has also started to volunteer for Northside as well.”
All types of work is carried out by volunteers. In Jason’s case, he travels on the Northside bus, assisting people in wheelchairs get on and off the vehicle as well as any other assistance needed.
Northside is an independent not for profit with 30 years’ experience in supporting 90,000 people with disability, mental illness, older people and carers. Our unique service approach means that we assist people to choose their support needs through a range of direct and brokered services that best suit the individual’s goals, budget and lifestyle requirements. Northside coordinates and partners with a range of specialist and high quality services which gives people greater choice and enhances their independence and wellbeing.