2023 Volunteer of the Year
May 22, 2023

2023 Volunteer of the Year


CEO, Ellen Matusko announced Doncare’s Volunteer of the Year during National Volunteer Week celebrations on Friday. Huge congratulations were in order and a big applause for Diep Van and Malcolm Ferguson, who were both deserving recipients amongst a dedicated bunch of nominees. Lyn Thomas and Lynne Llyod were runners-up.

Winner, Volunteer of the Year 2023 – Malcolm Ferguson

Malcolm has been volunteering in the op shop warehouse since 2019. As a volunteer, he drives the truck to pick up and deliver furniture and service our op shops.

Beyond his role at the warehouse, Malcolm offered to use his skills and talents to lead the initiative to install security systems in the op shops. He explored options and anaylsed the market and not only provided invaluable feedback on cost and a product that was fit for purpose but lead the team of volunteers in collaboration with Andrew to install the system. This involved setting it up at home and rolling it out in-store, as well as providing training to me. It also involved crawling through dusty roof cavities with John. Malcolm also set up screens at Mitcham for viewing.

In addition to this, Malcolm saw an opportunity to repurpose and recondition electronic devices that were donated by Box Hill Train Station. Malcolm assesses and modifies devices and then sells them on eBay to generate income. He handles customer enquiries and represents Doncare at an e-commerce level.

Malcolm also worked with John to design and install the additional changeroom at Templestowe recently. By being a creative thinker, Malcolm has been able to inspire other volunteers to come up with solutions to complement his ideas. This has led to increased teamwork in implementing them.

If Andrew asks Malcolm to stay for extra tasks that have just arisen, he is only too willing to stay back and help out. Malcolm spends a lot of time outside his volunteering hours researching and preparing solutions.

Malcolm is always happy and eager to help. Going out of his way building shelving for the office and making sure printers are working and in sync. He is a great problem solver and knowledgeable about electronics and computers, and his input for pricing certain donations is very helpful. A genuine and good person/friend to have on our team! Malcolm is diligently carrying out his job responsibilities with great attention to detail and professionalism.

Winner, Volunteer of the Year 2023 – Diep Van

Diep started volunteering at Doncare in 2020 and has been a great reference point for other volunteers, as she is always willing to help and explain processes and is a very positive person and helps keep the team spirit strong. She has a wonderful way with customers and is always ready to serve.

Diep’s commitment in her role as volunteer and to Doncare can be seen through her availability and ability to adapt to change. She does this with humour and grace and is a great team player.

Until recently, Diep has worked every Saturday for over two and a half years at our Mitcham store. She initially agreed to help until we found more Volunteers. We still don’t have enough!

Diep’s commitment to keeping the store open by giving up her weekends to volunteer every Saturday has been commendable.

Runner-up Lynne Lloyd

Lynne is a CSW who attends Doncare twice a week to meet with clients who are after support with food parcels, food vouchers and accessing support with bills. She also helps with sorting of the food pantry and answering the phone on reception.

Lynne has been extremely dedicated to the program, always stepping up to offer extra support to staff, other CSW’s and clients. She returned to the program after it was closed during the pandemic. Despite the challenges presented to restart the program, Lynne returned to Doncare as she is dedicated to the community and the people Doncare supports. She is efficient and helpful, always ready to learn new procedures. Lynn makes a positive impact on the program and all that work with her.

Lynne has made an impact on many people's lives, she has offered a listening ear and has great patients and compassion. I think she would make a wonderful volunteer of the year.

Runner-up – Lyn Thomas

Lyn is the Sassing Choir leader. She coordinates and conducts fortnightly rehearsals for choir members, as well as managing all bookings and performances.

The choir currently consists of 13 women, some who may have experienced family violence or know someone who has. The women meet for fortnightly rehearsals as well as choir performances on request. Some of these women have been in the choir for years. The choir is a place for these women to meet and engage in an activity which contributes to their physical and emotional wellbeing, whilst enjoying a sense of solidarity and support.

Via performances, choir members gain a sense of achievement and giving to the community, increasing confidence and self worth. Lyn herself has told me many times how the choir is great for her mental wellbeing!

Performances are often for community groups such as Probus, Retirement homes and nursing homes, and are of mutual benefit for the audience who experience the positive effects of entertainment and singing songs that hold significance for them.

Whilst we do not charge for performances, donations are always given by the recipients, contributing to the Doncare budget and Doncare clients.

Lyn has gone above and beyond her role, even driving funding opportunities to support the choir. In 2021 she was successful in a bid to the Rotary Club for funding to purchase large print songbooks that have been specifically compiled with songs that hold special significance for people in the older age groups.

Without Lyn the choir would not be able to continue. Over the last two years, the choir has had to become much more self-sufficient due to reduced administrative resources in the office. Lyn has had to take over a lot of the administrative requirements in addition to managing the choir. Without Lyn’s passion and dedication, it could not happen.

Nominee – Louise Theunissen

Louise has been supporting women in recovery from family violence since 2020 and has been a great asset to the DAWN program by providing consistent, non-judgemental, reliable care to her clients. She often thinks outside the box when helping clients, such as accompanying them to volunteer expos and women’s events. Louise has been able to inspire the other DAWN volunteers when sharing her experiences with new and existing volunteers during training and supervision. She has motivated others to volunteer with DAWN as she is so positive and dedicated to DAWN and Doncare.

Louise helps other DAWN clients as she is inclusive of all and is always willing to invite others to events or offer extra support when needed. She is unwavering in her commitment to the program and helping women recover from family violence.

Nominee – Maggie Falconer

Maggie has been volunteering in Doncare’s Social Support for Seniors program since 2016. As a volunteer in Saturday Club, Maggie regularly picks up participants and supports them emotionally throughout the activities. She is always helpful to the other volunteers and has a positive attitude. She always has the best interest of the participants in mind and regularly provides feedback to the Doncare staff on their wishes and interests in future activities.