Monday mornings at Wandana Community Centre wouldn’t be the same without Rob Carver and his trusty sidekick, Dasher.

The duo play important roles in the Centre’s sprawling community garden, where Rob oversees repairs and Dasher keeps everyone on their toes.

“He loves it here,’’ says Rob, one of 10 active volunteers at Wandana. 

“He makes sure everyone’s occupied with something to do, even if that’s just throwing the ball for him.’’

In search of a new challenge, Rob put up his hand to help at the Gilles Plains site three years ago.

A retired builder, he knew he had plenty to offer, and promptly set to work.

Today he has repaired the garden’s lattice gate, bundled up piles of sticks, and tended the raised beds flush with green capsicums and beans.

“I’m a doing person,’’ Rob says of what drives him to volunteer.

“At home, I’ve done everything; if a blade of grass comes up, it’s gone!

“With my wife in aged care, I like to keep myself busy outside, and everyone here is absolutely fantastic.’’

Rob is among the one in five people nationally who have returned to volunteering in the wake of COVID-19.

When Wandana shifted activities and supports online last year, Rob was forced to step away from his role for six months.

He is grateful to be back, and for the opportunity to once again put his myriad of skills to good use in support of the place where he’s made friends and found new purpose.

“I’m an average gardener, but I’ll do anything and everything to fix what’s broken,’’ Rob says, pointing to shade cloth he recently repaired in the propagating shed.

“When I go home each Monday, I feel I’ve achieved something.

“I look back and think `that was good, I did a nice job’.

“If the opportunity comes up to volunteer, you’re mad if you don’t take it.’’

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Centacare, please call Volunteer Coordinator Jacinta Toy on 8215 6843.

Wandana’s community garden group meets every Monday from 9am-midday. For more information, phone the team on 8215 6330.