“Hi, my name is Derek Bond and when I was in my final year of employment at ECU, I had the good fortune to attend a ‘retirement planning’ seminar that was conducted by Andrew Kikeros from Life Time Wise. The focus of the workshop was to help individuals understand the role in which paid work has shaped their identity and how to replace the intrinsic benefits of paid work (purpose, meaning, connection) with life after they leave.

In the afternoon session there were various invited guest speakers and one of them was Denver D’Cruz from Inclusion Solutions. I was very impressed with the philosophy of the organization – ‘enriching communities through social inclusion’ – and what Denver had to say. I requested and retained Denver’s business card and when I retired, I contacted Inclusion Solutions to see if there were any volunteer positions.

I was made very welcome and valued. Following a consultation with Inclusion Solutions, where they got to know me, the process of volunteering commenced with ease. I was tasked with researching individual case studies (people who wanted advice for recreational possibilities to suit their individual needs), and assisting on a larger/macro level with researching and creating data bases that was relevant to the overall work/mission of Inclusion Solutions. These roles were specifically of interest to me and aligned well with my skills in research and information gathering.

The work was challenging (learning to use different search engines for the research side), and very fulfilling knowing that I was playing a role in helping people across WA be ‘socially included’. What was ideal for me and my personal situation, was that I could do the work in my own time as I was not bound to set hours and I could carry out the tasks from anywhere. My wife and I split our time between Perth and Sweden each year and this role made it feasible for me to stay connected and have purpose even whilst away in Sweden.”