NORTHERN suburbs support group Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren is celebrating state recognition after winning a WA Seniors Awards gong this month.
It won the group or organisation award from the Council on the Ageing WA on November 6 and secretary Penny Rowden said it would help raise awareness about the full-time role some grandparents played caring for grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mrs Rowden said the group had about 60 members who cared for about 120 children and met at Kingsley Memorial Hall from 9.30am on the second Tuesday of each month.
“Most of the families are in this area – City of Joondalup, City of Wanneroo, City of Stirling,” she said.
The group provides support such as mentoring, pampering and activities for grandparents who often end up caring for children through casual arrangements.
Mrs Rowden said the reasons that children needed their care varied, including the death of parents, disability, or drug and alcohol issues.
She and husband Clive, who is the group’s president, initially cared for four of their grandchildren and recently took in their two great-grandchildren for three months.
“It’s very satisfying looking after your grandchildren,” she said.
“You really feel like you are doing something positive. They just come into your arms and they cuddle you – you’ve got a really strong relationship with your grandchildren.”
The Duncraig resident said the non-profit group provided four retreats a year for members, pamper and laughter days, school holiday activities and an annual camp.
She said volunteers also helped collecting bread and toy donations to distribute to the families.
“It’s really respite – that’s what the grandparents want,” she said.
“A lot of people, once they get their grandchildren or great-grandchildren, they don’t go back (to the parents).”
Mrs Rowden said that meant grandparents went back to doing school runs and it could often be socially isolating.
Visit grandparentsrearinggrandchildren.org.au or call 9246 4753 for more details.
THE City of Wanneroo won the local government category at this year’s WA Seniors Awards, presented by Council of the Ageing WA in partnership with the Department of Local Government and Communities.
The City receives funding through the Australian and State governments’ Home and Community Care Program to deliver a range of services and provide opportunities for seniors to continue to engage with the community.
These include the Poppin’ In program that links volunteers with socially isolated seniors, volunteer biography program ‘My Life My Words’ and a social support outings program.
The City also partners with North Metropolitan Tafe to allow social and day club program clients to take part in wellbeing experiences such as personal fitness, hydrotherapy, beauty and massage treatments.
“We consistently review and identify how we can improve our delivery of innovative services to our community,” Mayor Tracey Roberts said.
“The main aim of our services for seniors is to reduce social isolation and provide meaningful connections.”
The City held National Seniors Week events at various facilities, including libraries, day clubs and the Pearsall/Hocking Community Centre.