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Melbourne’s first Spanish speaking palliative care volunteers

Jackie facilitates volunteer training session at premises rented in Footscray


On 23 June 2020, United organized a training session for six volunteers of Australian-Latin American background. The venue was a hall in Footscray hired for the occasion to ensure social distancing rules were maintained.

“I value such training events because it brings opportunities to explain to others from our community some concepts that are considered taboo and most important, how to deal with it,” says Jackie Quintana, Volunteer Coordinator at United Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre (United).

Overcoming cultural barriers to discussing death and dying

The training content was based on the Volunteer Training Manual adapted by the Serbian Community Association of Australia from the Palliative Care Victoria Volunteer Training Manual.  Follow-up training sessions will occur monthly to strengthen the knowledge and skills of the volunteers. Volunteers will now be matched to ‘clients’ who have a chronic or terminal illness for ongoing psychosocial support in Spanish. Jackie will provide volunteers monthly supervision support by phone.

An important topic for most of the volunteers was How to Deal with Grief and Bereavement, and to understand the role of the volunteer in offering support not just to the client but to family members before and after the person dies.

Contrary to expectations, there was a general openness in the group to discuss end of life matters. The informal discussions encouraged participants to overcome cultural barriers to discussing death and dying.

Board members enjoyed meeting volunteers over lunch

During the lunch break, United Board Executive, Rafaela Lopez and Treasurer, Alicia Noia dropped by to meet the new recruits. “It was a real pleasure to sit for a while and observe the response from the participants and share lunch with them. Jackie’s presentation was absolutely fantastic and the time she gave the trainees to ask questions and share their experiences, opinions and explanations was more than excellent!” enthused Rafaela.

Feedback from one participant:

“The meeting was excellent. The way the training was organised was very clear to understand and follow. We are thankful for having the opportunity to grow as volunteers through our work”.

For further information, please contact

United Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre
Suite 102, 44-56 Hampstead Road, Maidstone, Victoria, 3012.
P: +61 (03) 9318 2949



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