CHESALON PITTWATER DAY CENTRE
Mr ROB STOKES
(Pittwater) [5.59 p.m.]: I would like to inform the House of the incredible work being undertaken by the volunteers at Chesalon Pittwater Day Centre, located on the grounds of St John's Anglican Church in my community of Pittwater. The Pittwater Day Centre is an extremely well-respected and increasingly popular service in the Pittwater community that provides opportunities and assistance to residents suffering from disabling illnesses, dementia and social isolation. The centre also acts as an important outreach service for carers and families seeking respite support and assistance whilst caring for their loved ones. With an ageing and growing population in Pittwater, the need for these services in our community is becoming increasingly important. I cannot sing their praises nor compliment the work the volunteers do highly enough.
It is important that the continuing hard work of the volunteers that makes these services possible is acknowledged and supported. Whilst many community members have contributed to the success of the Pittwater Day Centre over the past 25 years, the current volunteers—including Mark Connell, Pam Gaebel, Eileen Long, Barrie Stewart, Doris White, Eleanor Swansbra, Richard Synge, Diana Woolley, Christine Eagle, Judy Annear, Patricia Desjardine, Michelle Zeng, Margaret Conway, Dina Pivnitskay, Ellen Nicholson, Kaye Samus, Heather Robinson, Maureen Stiples, Margaret Jugl and Trish Clifton—all donate their time on a regular basis and are instrumental in the centre's ongoing success. Their diversity of skills, experience and compassion combine in an array of support that is greatly appreciated by everyone involved. Whether it is offering support or organising activities, these volunteers are familiar faces that provide an essential dose of companionship and enjoyment to the centre's participants. Whilst modesty is often a common trait amongst volunteers, there should not be any hiding from the fact that this is an admirable undertaking and something that every one of them should be enormously proud of.
I would also like to acknowledge the vital contribution of Reverend John Reid and the members of St John's Parish community, my local church, who play an essential role in the operation of the centre. This ongoing partnership between St John's and Chesalon is certainly strong and fruitful, and one that I look forward to seeing continue long into the future. I would also like to acknowledge the fantastic staff of Chesalon, including the Northern Sydney Volunteer Coordinator, Natalie Woodward, the Regional Manager, Helen Hunter, and the Day Centre Coordinator, Carmel Sgro. Their fantastic organisational skills and compassion help this wonderful service operate, and I thank them very much for their efforts.
It is also very important to highlight to the House the wonderful contribution that the Pittwater Day Centre makes to respite services in our community. Far too often carers are the forgotten ones in the provision of aged care services, regularly facing challenges including social isolation, emotional hardship and financial difficulty. However the ongoing efforts of the Pittwater Day Centre's volunteers and the support of St John's Church mean that local carers have a friendly place where their loved ones can take part in art classes, dancing, discussions, quizzes and outings whilst they attend to their own needs and have a break from the physical and psychological demands that often accompany such a challenging role.
In saying this, I would also like to recognise the contribution the day centre makes to palliative care in our community in supporting the wonderful work done by the palliative care centre at Mona Vale Hospital. The Pittwater Day Centre's palliative care cancer support group, which meets regularly on Tuesdays and is called the "happy palls" by its scrabble enthusiasts, is an outstanding example of the positive contribution that volunteer-based services make in our community. Another of the centre's great initiatives, which commences soon, is the outings group, which will be called the "socialites". They aim to arrange weekly day trips to scenic locations throughout Sydney. This is the next chapter in a great range of initiatives being undertaken by the centre in seeking to engage its participants in stimulating and enjoyable activities.
These are the very reasons that I was exceptionally pleased to be able to put forward the centre's volunteers as Pittwater's nomination for the 2010 New South Wales Carer of the Year Award. Their efforts in providing assistance to those members of our community in greatest need are thoroughly appreciated and truly deserving of the recognition this award bestows. With such wonderful people playing such an important role in our community, I am honoured to be able to bring their efforts to the attention of the House. On behalf of the Pittwater community I congratulate them on their outstanding and invaluable contribution to our community.