News » Celebrating Volunteers with Lived Experience: Alison Black’s Impact on Health Equity and Inclusivity

Alison Black leaning against a wall

Celebrating Volunteers with Lived Experience: Alison Black’s Impact on Health Equity and Inclusivity

Volunteers play a crucial role in our organisation. In fact, many organisations rely on volunteers to help drive change, provide valuable insights, and deepen connections to community. For organisations like ours, who are focused on health and wellbeing, volunteers with lived experience help shape our programs and services so that they are inclusive and equitable.  

Alison Black (she/her), a proud Wurundjeri woman and active member of the rainbow mob community, is a wonderful example of the impact that volunteers with lived experience can have on promoting inclusivity and representation for diverse communities. 

“I have been a member of the Darebin community for 20 plus years, and I love how calm it is. Darebin has a great variety of people and I feel safe here.”

Alison’s impact extends beyond her volunteer roles by building visibility, promoting inclusivity, and giving a voice to underrepresented groups within our community. She not only speaks to the barriers faced by rainbow mob community members but also represents their interests with dedication and passion. Her commitment to volunteering has been recognised with a nomination for the 2023 GLOBE Victoria Pride Awards under the Volunteer of the Year category, highlighting her significant contribution to Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ communities. 

Alison has been volunteering with us for the past four years, co-chairing the Kaydo Kertheba Working Group. Her firsthand insights as both a client and member of the Aboriginal community have been instrumental in the development of the plan. Kaydo Kertheba, meaning walk together, aims to improve access to culturally sensitive healthcare for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. By building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships, we can increase our understanding of and respect for Indigenous cultures, histories, knowledge, and traditions, and deepen our efforts to support and work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

Community Advisory Committee
Community Advisory Committee

In addition to her work on Kaydo Kertheba, Alison is also involved in five other Your Community Health committees, including our LGBTIQA+ Working Group, Transformation Working Group, Mental Health Strategy Working Group and our Consumer Advisory Committee. If that is not impressive enough, she is also part of the Consumer Engagement Committee for Merri Health. Her active role within these committees provides valuable insights into the lived experiences of our diverse community members.  

A key motivator is her desire to be part of something that can provide meaningful change to her community.

I used to live such a recluse lifestyle due to agoraphobia, but since volunteering with Your Community Health the past four years, I have totally opened up and got free, now I’m rarely home. This fills my heart with joy as I am seeing firsthand how the work I am doing is impacting people.” 

Alison’s unwavering commitment is a powerful example of how volunteers with lived experience can drive positive change within organisations. Their perspectives and insights are essential in creating programs and services that are inclusive, representative, and ultimately, more effective in promoting health and wellbeing for all. We celebrate Alison and volunteers like her who are making a difference in our community and wish her luck in the upcoming 2023 Victorian Pride Globe Awards, celebrating her well-deserved nomination as Volunteer of the Year.