“Douglas was a very generous helper to some of our staff who faced extreme difficulty in their life. Especially asylum seekers. Douglas was a councillor, father figure and friend to many.”
As a social worker, Douglas dedicated much of his life to helping others. Before Lentil as Anything, he was CEO of a community health service in Eltham. After that he went and worked in the desert for Nganampa Health on the Pitjantjatjara lands in Central Australia. He and his wife worked there for 6 years and developed a nursing home and aged care services.
After returning to Victoria, Douglas worked with Indigenous health services for a further five years before his well-earned retirement. Yet after meeting Shanaka, he took up social work again.
Douglas volunteered with Lentil as Anything since 2008, providing emotional counselling for staff, organising visas and accommodation for those who are refugees, and advising on courses for those who are international students or who might have slipped through the cracks.
With a sense of humour, Douglas explained "I'm also interviewing the volunteers once a week. And Shanaka 'conned' me into going to the board meetings too. So I've been supporting a lot of people."