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Making the stories last: social enterprise project shares a yarn

COTA Victoria is developing a social enterprise project where people will listen to older people in the community and create short stories about their lives.

Based on the Reminiscing Story Cards developed by COTA Australia in conjunction with Swinburne University, the project aims to assist older people to voice their stories in a written or electronic format. Stories will recall their times of resilience, achievements and current hopes as a memoir for family and friends. The Reminiscing Story Cards take a strength-based approach to prompt the story-telling.

COTA Victoria CEO Ronda Held said COTA hopes the project enriches the older person’s ability to reminisce positively, is enjoyed by the family members who listen to the stories and provides volunteers with the training and support to enable it to happen.

“This is a new project that COTA Victoria is developing and we’re seeking the involvement of volunteers to co-produce and deliver a pilot program for which people telling their story will pay a fee to have their story documented,” Ms Held said.

Ms Held said all funds raised through the project would better enable COTA Victoria to accomplish its mission of advancing the rights and interests of older Victorians.

Training will be provided for volunteers involved in story listening and will build on existing skills required, which includes:

  • Ability to work in a team of people, professionals and volunteers enabling stories to be told
  • Awareness of emotional intelligence- the strengths and weaknesses as a listener so that you can be present and give full attention to your interactions
  • Being a reflective listener
  • Empathetic and able to listen to people’s emotional world with clear boundaries
  • Being non-judgmental and able to appreciate the richness of diverse life experiences
  • Attention to detail to assist older people to reminisce and record their story
  • Computer skills
  • Reliable and available for three to four hours per week for at least 20 weeks per year. Having a vehicle may be advantageous but is not essential.

Interested people should request the position description and application form for the Volunteer Story Listener by contacting COTA on phone 9655 2100 or Email:

This news was categorised Get Involved and tagged with , .

2 Responses to Making the stories last: social enterprise project shares a yarn

  1. Luisa Salvo says:

    Could you please keep me updated, this sounds wonderful!

  2. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for your comment. Yes, will be announcing the details soon.
    Watch this space!
    COTA Team