In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we put a spotlight on one of our longest-serving volunteers, Pat Munden (pictured front right).
Known as the matriarch of Cooinda, Pat Munden has been sharing her time and skills with the City of Marion community for more than 37 years.
Breaking the rules, Pat insisted on becoming a volunteer when she was just 45 years old – 5 years earlier than the mandatory age limit at the time. Now aged 82, Pat as never looked back.
When Pat first started volunteering, it was to take over from an elderly couple who had been teaching ceramics. Conveniently located across the road from where she lived, volunteering for the Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre was an easy decision for Pat.
“Then it just got into my blood and here I am still,” says Pat.
Over the last six years Pat has also found herself happily volunteering in the kitchen. But what she loves most about being a volunteer is the people she meets.
“It's the people that you get to know and care about. Even after-hours, caring about those people that are older. I just love them. I just love to be in touch with them all and visit them. If I'm not here, if they need something or they need a feed, I'll make sure they have it.”
While Pat loves to work in the kitchen, her expertise lies in ceramics. “I make my own clay up from a powder and I use molds which come from America and England,” explains Pat.
“I fill them up with liquid clay, put them in a foam box with shredded paper, and bring them over to Cooinda. Then people can decorate them, I fire them at home and then bring them back for them to take home. We make bowls, plates, figurines of dogs, birds, everything.”
In the kitchen, Pat is one of three regulars who help out to make the meals on offer – including minestrone, pea and ham soup, sausage rolls and shepherd’s pie. Pat says it’s the taste of a home-cooked meal that people appreciate the most.
And Pat isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon. “I hope they won't race me out by the time I'm 90,” says Pat. “I hope I'm still hanging around because it's about the people, the people who you do things for and you can see how grateful they are. And they ring me at home too. I've made a lot of friends.”
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit our Volunteering page for a full list of all the current opportunities.