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Volunteering at the Old Ambulance Station in Nambour

Dr Jude Pippen in her 69th year volunteers on her pension doing what she loves in her  community. She brings 40 years’ experience in the cultural sector in project, events  and funds management. Working at the Old Ambulance Station as their Development Manager brings her joy and the will to leap out of bed in the morning!

As part of National Volunteer Week we asked Jude to reflect on the role and value of volunteers at the Old Ambulance Station.

The Old Ambulance Station in Nambour is owned by Sunshine Coast Council and managed by the Sunshine Coast Arts Industry Precinct Inc (SCAIP). The Board of SCAIP are all volunteers and bring a strong skill base to the strategic planning, marketing, financing and general management of the venue. The ‘Ambo’ has 23 volunteers that perform various roles including our 'go-to' people who hot desk at the venue to keep a presence in the place and respond to the daily needs of tenants and visitors. Others volunteer to manage our membership, newsletter, design posters for activities, with the most recent recruit planning a mural for the wall of one of our spaces!

Photo of the front of the Old Ambulance Station

This year we have begun contracts for two Work for the Dole volunteers and three Centrelink participants. Each person has chosen to come to us and they have greatly enriched our lives with physical help through cleaning and maintenance from their skill bases ranging from concreting to craft and woodwork. As Development Manager, I supervise activities, provide an induction and do a skills assessment so we can offer volunteers opportunities that fit our needs and their talents. We also offer training opportunities to support the volunteer’s activity with us and there’s always a cuppa on! Volunteers not only run the space but greatly enrich its life and facilitate its role in the community. There is an atmosphere of welcome, appreciation and spirit of collaboration amongst the board, tenants, participants and volunteers.

Three images of people at the Old Ambulance Centre

The Old Ambulance Station is a creative space where people can find their community of interest. The venue comprises two meeting rooms, two galleries, an 80 seat theatre and a coffee shop.  There are nine creative businesses that rent space as tenants and the Black Box Theatre is home to a resident company, Spiral, who work with participants of all abilities in music, dance, art and theatre and service more than 130 families in the region. 


Dr Jude Pippen

Dr Judy PippenJude has lectured at the Queensland University of Technology in Arts Research Methodology, worked in Physical Theatre with actors and  drama specialists and as a Policy Officer with Arts Queensland.  As a community artist she has been active in the fields of community theatre, cultural development, grant writing, project and funds management, festivals and events. Jude was a founding Director of Creative Regions a not-for-profit cultural service provider and producer in the Wide Bay region. Jude is currently the Development Manager working with SCAIP in Nambour.




Logo for the Old Ambulance Station  For more information:




Images courtesy of the Old Ambulance Station, collated by John Waldron.