Northlander Faye Grant loves her St John work July 2019

Faye Grant loves being a St John volunteer in Northland and urges others to volunteer

“At nearly 75 it’s nice to still be contributing and helping out . . . I think I’d be lost without it.”

When Faye Grant moved back to Whangarei from Auckland 25 years ago, taking a break from work, she really wanted to help others. Grant initially joined Age Concern, but the person she was looking after passed away, so she found out about St John through a lady called Margaret Suckling and joined St John’s Caring Caller programme.

She now wears three volunteer hats for St John. Grant has been a Caring Caller for 17 years and is now the district manager for Caring Caller in Whangarei. She is also the team leader for Friends of the Emergency Department at Bay of Islands hospital, Kawakawa, having been in that role just over a year. And, she’s also been a St John first responder/volunteer ambulance officer for eight years but is getting older so doesn’t go out much any more, but still enjoys doing things like children’s sports events.

Grant does her Caring Caller duties from home, spending around two hours per day ringing people, sorting interviews, matching Caring Caller volunteers and new clients together.

Every fortnight she goes into town to train new Caring Callers. Every Wednesday she goes into the hospital to serve a four hour shift, despite the hospital in Kawakawa being 40 minutes away from home. It involves sitting and talking to patients in the emergency department, serving meals, making cups of tea, grabbing a magazine, reassuring patients and their families and just keeping patients company while they endure a long wait in hospital.
Grant said she gets great satisfaction in just helping people and people realising help is there. “It’s very rewarding when you see the same patients in the hospital and they are very grateful to have you there,” she said.

“When you join St John they say you be come part of the St John family and my St John family has helped me so much through some very rough times, with the passing of my husband and health issues.

“You just get so involved and it’s immensely rewarding and it’s so good to be involved in some thing where you are really helping people and helping your community."

“At nearly 75 it’s nice to still be contributing and helping out . . . I think I’d be lost without it.”

Story by Staff Reporter (Northern Advocate)