The Access Volunteer Centre – Aylmer’s residents at the service of their neighbours
The Access Volunteer Centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Located on rue Principale, the Access Volunteer Action Centre is, first and foremost, a place that welcomes people. Our 87 volunteers are generous people who want to give back to their community. Volunteers are diverse: they are retired people who sometimes feel lonely and are looking for new challenges; newcomers looking for work experience; young people who are looking for an internship as part of their studies.
The majority of the services offered by the Centre are services that help seniors feel less alone and stay at home longer. The Centre welcomes seniors for day activities three days a week. These groups become an important part of the participants' week – a time of socializing, chair exercises, outings, games and a shared meal. The volunteers who accompany these groups bring their talents – in cooking, visual arts, music, and active listening. The groups that build relationships and break social isolation – of both participants and volunteers.
Another service that is in high demand is the accompaniment-transportation service. This allows a senior to go to his or her medical appointment with the help of a volunteer who remains available throughout the appointment. What is especially valuable is the accompaniment by a volunteer who stays with the person, allowing them to leave their home safely, to go directly to the appointment, and to know that someone is waiting to drive them home. In addition, the service helps to break social isolation – the time in the car allows for a time of conversation between the volunteer and the driver. Unfortunately, despite the dozens of active volunteers in this service, we are still not able to respond to all requests.
The Centre also offers friendship visits to seniors. Volunteers are paired with a senior for a weekly visit. For some, it is a precious moment of exchange. For others, it's a time to go for a walk together or have a coffee. Links are forged between generations, bonds that can last for several years.
Finally, the Centre offers a income tax clinics that offer Aylmer residents who have a modest income ($35,000 for a single person and $45,000 for a couple) the opportunity to file tax returns free of charge. This service is offered throughout the year.
The Centre is always looking for new volunteers. Interested parties are invited to consult the JeBénévole website or the Centre's website (cabacces.ca).