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What does it mean to lend a helping hand?

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A helping hand starts with a listening ear

It's not only the ‘needy’ in our community who benefit from a helping hand. We all need help from time to time, and it can also do us good to be the help that someone else needs, but what is the best way to extend a hand of friendship?

Our panellists agree that listening is the best place to start!

Laura Bennett is joined on Helping Hands by CEO of Wayside Chapel, Jon Owen; CEO of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Women Australia, Amanda Rose; and aged care chaplain, Jenny Blok, to discuss what it means to lend a helping hand.

Amanda explains that the best helping hand is the one that comes from the heart and goes unseen.

She says that a helping hand is being there when no one else is. People can fuss over someone who has had an accident or done well in business, but when times are tough, often those initial 'helpers' are nowhere to be seen. That’s the time to step in privately and give a helping hand.

Jenny adds to this, drawing on her experience in the aged care sector where, she says, offering a helping hand to the elderly is the same as any other stage in life. She emphasises the importance of listening first.

“I think we need to be asking permission as well because we can step in thinking that this person needs us … (but) they’re quite capable of doing things themselves! We don’t want to take away their independence.”

Jon agrees and shares some practical advice he gives to volunteers when they first come to lend a helping hand at Wayside Chapel.

“People just need you to love them … so bring a fresh pair of socks. The moment someone is sharing with you about what it’s like to sleep rough and you’re tempted to download your wisdom, take that fresh pair of socks and shove them in your mouth and just listen.”

See the WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LEND A HELPING HAND discussion and the full catalogue of Helping Hands panels at Catch up on full episodes of Helping Hands on 9NOW.

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* Our panellists, Amanda Rose, Jon Owen and Jenny Blok, and the Helping Hands producers are available for interview on radio, TV and online to discuss this topic. Get in touch at


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