AMBASSADOR for Aging, comedienne and actress Noeline Brown will be in Lismore this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Community Visitors Scheme.

In her first visit to Lismore, Mrs Brown will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon to celebrate the local volunteers who visit the elderly across the Northern Rivers.

Mrs Brown is also in Lismore to help raise awareness of the project run by the Northern Rivers Community Gateway (formerly the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre).

Manager of Volunteer Programs at the Northern Rivers Community Gateway, Julie Massey, explained that there are 60 volunteers currently keeping in contact with 60 elderly people.

"Anyone can be a volunteer, as soon as they are over 18 years of age, and they only commit to visiting one elderly person for 1.5 hours a fortnight. It is not much for it makes a lot of difference to the elderly," Ms Massey said.

Aged Care Facilities identify residents at risk of becoming socially isolated who would benefit from a regular visitor, whether for social or cultural reasons or due to disability.

Project officer Jenny Smits, from the Community Visitors Scheme, then finds volunteers to make a match.

"Our matches are successful 99.9% of the time," Ms Massey said.

In Lismore, the scheme has been under the auspice of the Northern Rivers Community Gateway (formerly the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre) since October 18, 1993.

"This is also a good team activity for businesses or groups. We have a fantastic corporate group from NAB Lismore who visit people regularly, so maybe other businesses could replicate that success story too," Julie Massey said.



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