We can all feel a little lonely from time to time, and for some socialising can be a bit overwhelming. So, how can we make sure our most vulnerable members of society have someone that can lend them an ear? That is where the Australian Government and their Community Visitors Scheme steps in! Read on to find out how this program can help you, or someone you love. 


What is it?

The Community Visitors Scheme is a government idea to provide friendship and companionship to older Australians. This program has existed since 1992 and has since expanded to include those on home care packages, group visits and aged care homes.


How Does it Work?

The scheme is an Australian Government-funded program, which aims to decrease social isolation among the elderly population. The Community Visitors works alongside community-based organisations, finding volunteers who can provide companionship via visits to people who are either:

  1. Funded by residential aged care and home care packages or 
  2. Are isolated or at risk of social isolation.

Suppose you have not been approved for a package but are on a current waiting list. In that case, you are still eligible to participate in this scheme. You do not qualify if you are not receiving government-subsidised aged care or home care services/packages. This service is free to eligible people and aims to improve the quality of life for the recipients.



Are There Different Types of  Visits?

Yes, there are two types of visits provided under the Community Visitors Scheme. One on one volunteer visits or Group Visits. Group visits involve two or more recipients receiving a visit in the same aged care home or facility. It is important to remember that the Australian Government has outlined that a group visit must not be in place of your normal residential based lifestyle program. You still have to do both.

How Often Will I Be Visited?

As per the government guidelines, the visits will be one hour long, with a minimum visit once a fortnight. Twenty or more face to face visits to individuals or groups each financial year is the minimum visit time. Sometimes, life gets in the way and face to face contact is not possible. A letter or a phone call is also an appropriate type of contact, but you should remember that these do not replace face to face visits. Face to face interaction and building friendships is the focus.



How Do I Become a Visitor?

The role of a volunteer visitor is to provide friendship and companionship regularly. A visitor's main job is to enhance the quality of life for the recipient. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you should find and contact the eligible community organisation in your area. The organisation's coordinator will assess your suitability for the role.

These may include reference checks, so it is important to have this information ready. A police check is also required to become a volunteer visitor. It is recommended, although not required, that the volunteer be over 18 years of age. Suppose you are under 18 years of age but still wish to volunteer. In that case, you can discuss this with your local organisation to find out their policy.

Diverse backgrounds in visitors are welcome, with some recipients wishing to reconnect to their culture or community. As you will be dealing with people, a sense of maturity and empathy will help your journey in becoming a volunteer visitor. You can contact your State Member to discuss making an application; details of each state member are below.


State Member Details:

Southern Migrant and Refugee Centres (ACT, NSW, Vic)

Phone: (03) 9767 1900 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


Anglicare NT (NT)

Phone: (08) 8928 0620
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anglicare NT is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for the Northern Territory. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


Queensland Community Care Network Inc. (QLD)

Phone: (07) 3379 7200
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Queensland Community Care Network Inc. is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for Queensland. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


Southern Volunteering South Australia Inc. (SA)

Phone: (08) 8326 0020
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Southern Volunteering South Australia Inc. is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for Queensland. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


Lifeline Tasmania (TAS)

Phone: (03) 6424 6547
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Lifeline Tasmania is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for Queensland. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


Melville Cares Inc. (WA)

Phone: (08) 9319 0916
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Melville Cares Inc. is the Community Visitor Scheme Network member for Queensland. Contact the above number should you wish to ask a question, refer someone or enquire about volunteering as a visitor.


How Do I Get a Visitor?

Aged or Home Care recipients who do not have quality social contact or who feel isolated from friends, family, or community may be referred. The referral pathway for this scheme is open. Anyone can refer an eligible person to a CVS Community-Based organisation, including themselves. You can either do this via direct contact with the organisation or your states Community Visitors Scheme member. Once the referral is underway, the coordinator will find the perfect volunteer visitor for you or your loved one.


Additional Resources:


Please note: due to COVID-19 based restrictions some organisations may have temporary measures put in place to increase the safety of participants. Please make sure you are familiar with their current procedures or give them a ring to discuss this before applying as a volunteer or participant.


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