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Our Wonderful Way Finders

Our Wonderful Way Finders

There’s no doubt walking into the Orange health service is quite a daunting front. Entering the large corridors, you’ll find alphabetical letters, different displays an unfamiliar medical terminology, wait for it, here comes the ‘I’m completely lost’ feeling.

Then you are delighted to see someone in a red vest reading your ‘oh my gosh’ emotions or it may have been because you were anxiously flapping your arms around, either way, it’s a volunteer Way Finder here to save the day. “How can I help you?” is often the soothing greeting you’re here followed by “Come with me.” sound familiar? We’ve all been there.

That Way Finder in the red vest is one of approximately 70 Way Finder volunteers who supply a welcoming and chaperoning service seven days a week for a total of 57 hours per week, 50 weeks a year.

Over the past 8 and a half years since its inception they have chaperoned approximately 145,000 visitors to their destination within the Health Service building. A truly impressive feat.

Gary Scovell has been with the Way Finders since the beginning. “We find that people are going through so many different emotions when they come through the doors. When we see them again on the way out, they are full of thanks, it means so much to us that we mean so much to them”

Generally, a volunteer will have up to four shifts per month and usually will have a different partner on each shift. This gives a volunteer an opportunity to meet and have a talk and to get out and about

Gary continued, “As well as providing a community service that is so necessary to the hospital, I really enjoy interacting with the public and my counterparts, I love the team spirit and morale we have here and that is evident in our motto ‘What we do for ourselves dies with us what we do for others is eternal’.

Fran Reed, a recent inductee to the Way Finders mentioned she was too happy to become a volunteer Way Finder, “As I have just retired I really wanted to give something back to the community and I think being a Way Finder is a great way to do it. It’s just a lovely thing to be able to take them by their hand and take them to where they are meant to go and have a lovely conversation with them, which could essentially put them at ease or make them feel a little less anxious.”

Marion Patterson smiled, “Many like to tell you their story and often feel you are the only person they have spoken to that day.”

The Way Finders have three-hour shifts starting at 8:30 am each weekday and two three-hour shifts starting 9:30am on weekends.

if you would like to become a volunteer Way Finder at the Orange Health Service, an application can be provided to you by the volunteers, or by simply asking at their desk at the front of the Orange Health Service or by contacting Gary Scovell on 0420 329 118.

Gary will then help you with the processing of your application and provide you with an appropriate induction and training. Alternatively, you can contact him through email

CREDITS: Our Wonderful Way Finders was written by Melise Coleman and originally publishing in Orange City Life 10-16 September 2020.


Tamara Pearson