BCHS family support worker Paula May. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

ONE special community advocate has been doing her best for the community for about as long as Bendigo Community Health services has been in operatio

Paula May has been a family support worker at the organisation since 1979.

Four decades in any role is an admirable feat, but for Paula her dedication, work ethic and respect from co-workers prove her strength of character at going above and beyond.

Her primary aim, along with other support workers, has been to keep families together and give them as much help as they need to be healthy and happy.

She celebrated 40 years as a family support worker at BCHS last week; the organisation itself has been in operation for over 40 years.

“I’ve been here so long this place feels like home,” Paula says.

Of the 11 family support workers at BCHS, most work full time. They make up an part of an extensive network that aims to achieve equitable health and well being, as well as responding to the community’s needs and residents’ lived experiences.

Over the years Mrs May has observed a diminished budget which prevents the workers from taking families on camps and excursions.

Mrs May says they are needed if a family is going through some form of trauma such as domestic violence or if parenting issues arise.

Having reached the respectable age of 77 she has decided that Christmas will be the time for her retirement.

Well not quite retirement. “I’ll be coming back from time to time to care for the vegetable garden I’ve got growing here,” she laughs.