Community in profile: A good news story

Jane Marriott and Zelda Martin aren’t just two ladies laughing together until their bellies ache, they are two women who are fostering a special friendship.

Ms Marriott has been visiting Ms Martin since March when they were paired together by the Community Visitors Scheme.

The Community Visitors Scheme was created as a way to provide friendship and companionship for aged care residents by matching them with volunteer visitors from their community. 

It is an Australian Government initiative, for which Hepburn Shire Council is the auspice. 

FRIENDSHIP: Jane Marriott and Zelda Martin at the John Curtin Aged Care Facility in Creswick. Photo: Dylan Burns

FRIENDSHIP: Jane Marriott and Zelda Martin at the John Curtin Aged Care Facility in Creswick. Photo: Dylan Burns

In the short time that the women have known each other, the pair has already discovered they have many things to chat about.

“We get on very well and have interests in common, which is great,” Ms Marriott said.

Ms Martin reiterated how well they get on.

“It’s amazing. I couldn’t have thought the match would be so good,” she said.

They both enjoy “nattering” about native gardens, nurseries and birds.

“My brother passes on a bird magazine to me, I read it, bring it to Zelda and then she passes it on to her friends,” Ms Marriott said.

Both women come from academic backgrounds, enjoy history and are interested in research. 

“I was very involved in the U3A group. I do all the research for the Australian History group that my friend runs,” Ms Martin said.

Ms Marriott said she is glad she joined the program.

“I felt like I needed to get out and be more involved in the community. There are a few groups in Creswick but I haven’t joined a lot of them.

“I like how this program allows you to visit a person and establish a relationship with them. It’s really worthwhile. 

“We usually have a good laugh. Sometimes it takes a while to warm up during a visit but we usually end up in a series of belly laughs at some stage or another which is good for us both,” she said.

Ms Martin said she also gets a lot out of the relationship.

“I get to talk to somebody with interests similar to mine, but somebody who is out of my normal sphere. And I love talking so it’s great to have somebody to talk to.

“I’m stuck in here with four walls around me so having a part of the outside world brought in to me is wonderful,” she said. 

Ms Martin is still continuing a lot of her research and is in the process of creating an online bulletin board, so people like her can attend online classes.

She also has a plan to run a class on Creswick’s history within the John Curtin Aged Care Facility.

The pair hope that when the weather improves, they can explore the facility’s gardens and sit in the cafe.