Communicare Friendship Group Coordinators finally feel like they are doing the job they were employed to do. It has been a long few years and all best plans to run a collective friendship group became a mind field of juggling people, volunteers and health issues all while ensuring the needs of our members were not overlooked.
Communicare Akl incorporated is a not for profit that was established in 1959 to support the disabled and isolated senior community. With groups around Auckland, including Howick, Pakuranga and Panmure groups we reluctantly closed doors while we waited for that orange light. With wonderful support from the venues and community we were able to open the doors as quickly as they closed, however some centres in Auckland took a hit and the doors closed permanently.
Rather than sitting at home waiting for the orange light, with the support of local community, businesses, and funders the Communicare volunteers and staff hit the streets to ensure the members had a bag of treats and a social distance check in. For some members this was the only contact they had.
Then we were able to open again. While we were excitedly preparing for the centres to open, it never crossed our minds that our members may have lost the confidence to get out and about again. To come out of a single bubble into a group was proving to be overwhelming for some, says Communicare Manager Brigid Curran. With the support from staff and volunteers and a gently gently approach together confidence was soon restored and we soon saw their happy faces again. However, some of the members are still a bit wary and we hope they will be encouraged to come back to their local group soon. It has been a busy few months at Communicare as we reopened the doors, but the most exciting news, apart from our members returning is that we have managed to reopen the closed centres and now are opening more centres to ensure that our senior community are able to connect locally to like minded people.