Media releases

Media releases and statements by Rachel Stephen-Smith

Canberra Health Services celebrates 600th volunteer at thank you Christmas party

December 10, 2019

Canberra Health Services today (CHS) celebrated its 600th volunteer at its annual Thank You Christmas Party.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith and Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury expressed their gratitude, emphasising the party was an important way to recognise and thank our selfless volunteers.

Minister Stephen-Smith said volunteers generously give their time to comfort members of the Canberra community, often when they are at their most vulnerable.

“From running a library service to  helping patients find their way or being a shoulder to lean on, our volunteers are a vital part of the Canberra Health Services team.

“Their dedication in supporting patients, family and staff is greatly appreciated,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.

Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury urged Canberrans who were thinking about how to give back to the community to consider volunteering at CHS.

“CHS offers 28 volunteer programs across Canberra meaning those wishing to donate their time can choose something that aligns with their skills or interests,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“The comfort and support volunteers provide is invaluable.”

Bella Fitzgerald became the 600th volunteer at CHS, jumping at the chance to the help others and learn more about the hospital environment.

Bella, 19, a medical science student at ANU, said she was very excited to be the 600th volunteer.

“I have chosen to volunteer in the emergency department because I like a fast paced environment with a lot of variety,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“I will be providing patient support which could include things like getting a cup of tea for someone or reading a book to a child.

“The volunteer orientation day was fantastic, I’ve already made lots of friends. Everyone made me feel very welcome.”

CHS volunteer programs are offered at Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital, Canberra Region Cancer Centre and health centres across Canberra.

Volunteer programs include a library service, Auxiliary shop and trolley services, hand and foot massages, spiritual support services, story time for children, way finding, veterans lounge and much more.

For more information about CHS volunteer programs visit