Gawler Care and Share Group Inc

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Fast Facts
Type of organisation: Community Service

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(Written January, 2014, by Miss Rita Argent))

Gawler Care Share Group, at first named Gawler Care & Share Centre, was established when Miss Rita Argent saw the need for Day Care/Respite Care for ageing and younger people with disabilities.

She approached Dr. Bruce Eastick, the then Member for Light in the South Australian Parliament, for his advice and assistance.

Dr. Eastick was very helpful, and over the years continued to be so and still is. He was appointed Patron of The Group in 1982.

A Board of Trustees and Management Committee drawn from the community has given valuable service to Gawler Care & Share Group.

On 30th March l977 a weekly activity commenced. It was held at the Elderly Centre Gawler.

Meeting time was from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Card and parlour games, friendly interaction and morning tea were enjoyed. There were seven members. The fee for the session was 30 cents.

Mr Ian Pascoe, Welfare Officer for the elderly, employed by The Corporation of Gawler was the person with total oversight of the activity.

On 24th November 1978, Miss Rita Argent was appointed Coordinator. She continued in that position until her retirement in 2010.

Volunteers gave valuable service, amongst them were the Lyndoch Red Cross Ladies, and Gawler Catholic Ladies Group.

On 5th July, 1977 an Open Day and Official Opening of Gawler Care & Share Centre was held at The Elderly Centre, Gawler. Hours of meeting had increased. The meeting time was now 9.30 – 3.30 p.m. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea were served. The Mayor of Gawler, Mr Ces Creedon, declared Gawler Care & Share Centre officially open.

Official guests were Mr Ces Creedon, Mrs Jessie Creedon, Dr. Bruce Eastick and Mrs Dawn Eastick, The Honourable Boyd Dawkins M.L.C. and Mrs Con Dawkins.

Representatives from The Corporation of Gawler, namely Mrs Meredith Crome, Mr D. Harrison, Mr Cyril Cockshell.

Representatives from Gawler Service Clubs, Royal District Nursing Service, Meals on Wheels Gawler, Gawler Senior Citizens Club, Gawler Aged and Invalid Pensioners Association, Gawler Returned Servicemen’s League, Gawler Churches, Gawler Civilian Widows Club. Dr. Ross Brown and Dr. J. Stephenson.

Approximately 30 people were then attending the weekly activity.

Mr Creedon commented on The Corporation of Gawler’s part in buying the Elderly Centre (formerly the Gawler South Football Club’s Rooms) for use of the elderly and wished Gawler Care & Share well.

Dr. Eastick commented on the growth of Care & Share from a concept to a reality and wished the group well.

As time went on there were expressions of appreciation from participants. A lady who had once been active on committees in another town said she had been “in a rut” and could not go out. After attending Care & Share she went elsewhere as well. A man over 70 years of age, almost blind, said “it has given me a new interest, I used to sit around doing nothing and was miserable. Now Care & Share has added five years to my life. I have a game of cards and a yarn with the chaps – it’s good”

The first birthday celebration was held on 11th July, 1978. Mr Gil Harnett, Mayor of Gawler, greeted all present. A sing song, musical items and recitations from members was enjoyed.

Membership had increased from 7 to 40-50 one man was 99 years of age.

By 1981 membership had grown to 100 with ages ranging from 45-93 years.

At the first birthday celebration Miss Argent thanked the many volunteers who throughout the year gave such valuable help. Among them were Volunteer drivers, who with their own vehicles, provided transport for members to and from the weekly activity. Miss Argent also thanked the Corporation of Gawler for making The Elderly Centre available to Gawler Care & Share.

The Building was later renovated and extended and Gawler Care & Share contributed to the cost.

As time went on the weekly activity included handicrafts, card and parlour games, music and singing, a trading table, friendly interaction and visits from the hairdresser were very much appreciated. Mobility Exercises which were very beneficial to participants and enjoyed by them became part of the program. The exercise leaders were volunteers.

Visits from school children with entertainment from them became an enjoyable part of the activity.

The Lions Club of Gawler instituted Annual Picnics, fully provided for by them. Care & Share members thoroughly enjoyed those events and were very grateful.

Gawler Care & Share Group conducted a stall at Gawler’s Annual Rotary Village Fair. In 1986 the group received a certificate signed by Kym Bonython, Chairman of South Australia’s Jubilee 150 Board. It certified that Gawler Care & Share Group took part in South Australia’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations by participating in Annual Gawler Rotary Village Fair.

In 1996 Gawler Care & Share Group joined with Gawler Senior Citizens Club, Gawler Aged and Invalid Pensioners Association to form a committee for Celebrating Seniors. The committee arranged Annual Seniors in October Celebrations.

Gawler Care & Share Group liaised with local health services and appreciated their support.

On 25th September 2000, the Elderly Centre Management Committee was formed to provide advice to the Gawler Council on the conduct of the Elderly Centre. Gawler Care & Share had a representative on that committee. It is now called The Elderly Centre Advisory Committee.

The group has been grateful for Government Funding through Home and Community Care Programs.

(Contributed by Beth Hudman, Coordinator, February 2014,)

In 2010 Miss Rita Argent retired from Gawler Care & Share and Beth Hudman was appointed as Coordinator. Miss Argent’s contribution to the inception of Gawler Care & Share Group, and the many years of valuable service she gave to the Group is acknowledged as a remarkable effort. Thank you Rita.

2014 – Gawler Care & Share Group Inc. continues to thrive, it has a current clientele of approximately 100, 35 volunteers and helpers and 3 permanent part time staff. Several of the early volunteers and helpers are still attending Care & Share, some of them for 37 years, a magnificent effort by all.

The activities enjoyed by the clients include, craft, special events, parties, raffles, haircuts, sing along, travel films, card games, trading table, guest speakers, discussion group, computer lessons, live entertainment. Morning tea and lunch are provided.

The day fee is now $5.00 per week, quite a difference to the original fee of 30 cents.

On May 6th, 2014, Care & Share will be celebrating its 37th birthday. We all look forward to the next 37 years and beyond, giving the community of Gawler a valuable resource to assist in overcoming social isolation.

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