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Blog Posts (28)

  • Ve's Secret for Healthy Ageing

    Moving home at any age can be a stressful experience but retiring to a new community when you are older can feel especially isolating and overwhelming. BCR Communities client, 85-year-old Vasanthi (Ve) Rao, knows all about the excitement and challenges that comes with moving, not just to a new community but to a new country. When she was 29-years-old, Ve moved with her husband Bob and baby daughter from India to England. It was a culture shock and she soon discovered that not everyone in 1960s Birmingham was welcoming to new arrivals - one neighbour refused to acknowledge her for 20 years. Ve said she found her place in her new community through her work as a high school maths teacher and then as the principal of an all-girls school. After 30 years in the UK, Ve and Bob decided to do it all again, this time retiring to Wollongong Australia to be close to where their daughter was now living. No longer working, the couple threw themselves into volunteering instead and soon built up a large friendship group. They had 17 happy years in Wollongong before starting over yet again in a retirement village in Nowra. “When we first moved to Nowra, I felt really lonely,” Ve said. “First it was the bushfires and then it was the COVID lockdowns so meeting people was hard.” “But I’m a naturally happy, outgoing and social person so I just started doing different activities and trying to bring people together with exercise classes, line dancing, sharing food, and going out together.” “I’m now running a chair exercise group and about 15 people come to the class. We try to keep moving, and we do meditation and mindfulness as well.” ‘Keep moving’ is Ve’s mantra for life and she said she wouldn’t have coped with the recent passing of her beloved husband without keeping active and involved in her retirement community. “Sometimes older people will immediately say ‘oh no, that is not for me,’ but we have to keep trying new things and keep an open mind,” Ve said. “Talk to people, communicate, laugh, be social, be friendly and practice mindfulness. When you go out for a walk don’t just walk, use all your senses – look at the clouds, smell the flowers, touch the leaves, taste the berries.” “Without doing this, I wouldn’t have survived Bob’s passing. If I wasn’t living in a retirement village I would have felt very isolated but there there are many of us in the same boat here and we support each other.” Ve has in home support from BCR Communities with cleaning and shopping so she can continue living independently in her own home within the retirement village surrounded by her friends.

  • Thrive Together in Sanctuary Point

    Hundreds of locals from the Bay and Basin packed the BCR Youth & Community Centre in Sanctuary Point for the local pop-up Thrive Together Fair. The Fair supports people who may be struggling with escalating costs of living. BCR Communities partnered with Shoalhaven City Council to put on the event which was a mini version of the successful Thrive Together Fair held in Bomaderry earlier this year. With over 20 different community services setting up stalls to provide information, advice and resources, the fair was an opportunity for locals to connect with each other while finding out more about the breadth of support services available to them. Community Project Officer for BCR Communities, Rohanna Holland said while the fair has been running for three years in Nowra, this is the first time pop-ups had been held in other regions of the Shoalhaven. “We decided to work together with Shoalhaven City Council to bring Thrive Together to Sanctuary Point because for some people who are already struggling, getting to Bomaderry is not easy,” Rohanna said. “Having it at the Sanctuary Point Youth and Community Centre meant it was easily accessible for Bay and Basin locals, and parents could pop in after school and preschool pick-ups.” Community members connected with local welfare, government and health agencies, found tenancy and housing support, picked up free care packs and clothing, received financial information and assistance with fines, debts and legal issues, and found out about NDIS and Aged Care services. While the grown-ups were chatting to stall holders and catching up with each other, the Curious and Creative students from Vincentia High kept the kids entertained with games, and activities, and a fabulous sausage sizzle was provided by the Jervis Bay Lions Club.

  • Jodi Wins Community Service Award

    The BCR Communities team had a fantastic night at the Community Industry Group - Illawarra Forum Community Service Awards last Friday night. A big congratulations to our WHS and Quality Coordinator, Jodi Evans for winning the Leadership Award (large organisation), Rochelle McHattan who was awarded a Highly Commended in the Sector Star of the Future category and our wonderful Community Services Team who also received a Highly Commended in the Above and Beyond Team category. We are so proud of all our finalists and the work they do for our organisation and our communities!

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Other Pages (28)

  • ABOUT US | BCR Communities

    ABOUT US HISTORY Our history Around 30 years ago there was a real gap in community services and supports in the Bay and Basin region of NSW, especially for young people. While the Bay and Basin lacked resources, it was rich with people who loved where they lived and were willing to give their time and energy to making sure their community had a dedicated space where local youth and families could access services, programs and activities. In 1989, a group of concerned local residents went to the Shoalhaven City Council to try and find a solution for the gap in community services. From that initial meeting the Bay & Basin Community Resources (BBCR) Committee was formed. ​ The first goal for the Committee was to work with Council to build the Sanctuary Point Youth and Community Centre. Because of their persistence and hard work, the Centre was opened in 1991 and for over 30 years it has been a gathering place for all ages, and has held countless activities, events, workshops and social groups. It is a safe and welcoming space creating many happy memories over the years. From that initial success, BBCR continued to grow and diversify in response to the needs of our local communities. ​ In 1993, we began our Aged Care services so local seniors could be supported to remain living independently in their own homes. In 2000 we started delivering the national Respite For Carers program in the Shoalhaven which transitioned into the HCP and CHSP services we currently provide. ​ In 2002 we launched our radio station, Bay & Basin Community Radio 92.7FM so locals could keep connected and up-to-date with what was happening in their own community. Today we are proud to say we support over 700 seniors and people with disability in the Shoalhaven and Illawarra, and local community members of all ages access programs and events within our Community Spaces and our Activities Hub each week. ​ ​ Bay & Basin Community Resources to BCR Communities As our organisation has grown, our name has also evolved to better reflect our vision and mission, and the many diverse communities we support across the Shoalhaven and the Illawarra. From Bay & Basin Community Resources (BBCR) we have changed our name to BCR Communities – ‘Building Connected Resourceful’ Communities. We may have a different name today than we did in 1991 but at our heart, we are still the same grass roots organisation that is committed to partnering with our communities to provide person-centred services for all. We believe everyone living in our region has the right to live happy, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. 1/6 MISSION & VISION Our mission... We partner with our communities to provide person-centred services for all. Our vision... Communities living happy, healthy, productive and meaningful lives. Our values... Promote inclusion We proudly work with and foster the diversity of individual and community needs. Act with integrity We are honest, fair, transparent and build trusting relationships. Show empathy We are partners in your journey. Encourage wellness We value the health of each person by offering innovative lifestyle choices. OUR BOARD Meet our Board Joanne McAlister Chairperson Jo moved to the Bay & Basin area to raise her two children in 1994. Over her career she has worked extensively with the Department of Education in both the Primary and Secondary sectors. Jo first became involved with BCR in 2011 as she wanted to do something for her local community. She felt the organisation reflected her own personal values and has found being a Board Director both fulfilling and rewarding. Jo has proudly watched the organisation thrive and flourish, providing much needed services to many people. She now also volunteers with the Wednesday social group which she describes as a wonderful experience and so helpful for her own well- being. David Reynolds Board Director David has over 20 years on the Management Committee and then Board of BCR Communities with many of those years as Chairperson. Outside BCR, David is self-employed in IT sales and service, Heavy Equipment Hire and Operation and import and sales of Wind Sports equipment. David also has over 20 years of involvement in local Community Consultative Organisations such as Basin Villages Forum, local environmental & bushcare groups and is a member of a number of Shoalhaven City Council community reference groups on Coastal and Environmental management. Lives in Sanctuary Point with partner Christine and dogs Niska and Rocky. Michele Smith Board Director Michele has had over 30 years of experience as a Primary School Teacher and continues to work for the Department of Education as Teacher In Charge in the Shoalhaven Region delivering the School Swimming and Water Safety Programs to local schools. After settling in the Shoalhaven in 1981, through teaching and in support of her children she became involved with a number of community committees of local organisations in support of youth activities. The local Little Athletics, Jervis Bay and Zone Pony Clubs, Bjelke Petersen Physical Culture to name a few. The opportunity to join a diverse community organisation such as BCR was offered and she has been on The Board for over 10 years. Ross Clifton Board Director Ross is currently Head of Students and Academic Program Director of the Master of Medical and Health Leadership in SMAH (Science Medicine & Health) at Wollongong University. He has a clinical background in mental health and has spent most of his career working in education, aged care and disability services as well as in organisational development and management positions. Ross has a PhD in Change Management, Partnerships and Governance. He also holds an MBA, a Master of Arts, a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Nursing. Ross has been on the Board of BCR Communities for the last 20 years. ​ ​ Sharon O'Brien Board Director Sharon has been a volunteer on the Board of BCR Communities for 10 years. She has 30 years of professional experience working in the Human Services Sector and holds a Bachelor of Welfare Studies, Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Leadership and Management, Diploma of Management and Adult Education Training and Assessment qualifications. Her disability experience includes leading change and quality service improvements including a Workplace Trainer pilot to support continuous improvement and compliance, and an Aboriginal Traineeship Project leading to the expansion of the learning program and traineeships across NSW. Sharon is also volunteering in a Primary Ethics teaching role within the local community. OUR TEAM Heather Marciano CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER ​ Heather has over 15 years of experience in the not for profit sector including key strategic leadership, innovation and business transformation roles within the Aged Care and Disability sectors. Heather co-authored a research paper on ageing people with disability and presented this research internationally resulting in the development of Kemira, a purpose built community which has received local, national and international awards as the first model of its kind in Australia. Heather’s experience includes executive roles in Human Resources, Strategic Planning, Operations Management, Media, Marketing and Communications, and Stakeholder Engagement. ​ Zanna Elliott PEOPLE, CULTURE AND TRANSFORMATION MANAGER Zanna holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources Management and has close to 20 years of professional HR experience. Having worked in small business through to large corporate, since joining BCR Communities 4 years ago Zanna finds the not for profit community sector the most rewarding and suited to her personal values. Zanna has worked across all areas of human resources, partnering with business leaders to help them achieve strategic and operational goals, while mitigating risk and leading cultural change. Along with a strong business acumen, Zanna’s extensive professional experience has resulted in strong and trusting relationships. ​ Lorraine Williams EXECUTIVE MANAGER AGED CARE SERVICES/REGISTERED NURSE Lorraine has been a Registered Nurse for almost 40 years, working in community and hospitals in acute care and health management. For the last 3 years Lorraine has worked for BCR firstly as a Care Manager in but more recently as Executive Manager. Lorraine has extensive clinical experience, with a passion for clinical governance, change management, innovation and developing a positive workplace that provides quality care. Lorraine has lived in the Shoalhaven for over 27 years, raising 4 children and now has 10 grandchildren. She has experience in volunteering roles in the local community including as a volunteer exec for a local community pre-school. ​ Sean Cleary EXECUTIVE MANAGER FINANCE, GOVERNANCE & SYSTEMS Sean is a finance specialist with over 30 years’ experience managing finances for commercial and Not-for-Profit organisations. He holds a Degree in Business and is a member of the IPA (Institute of Public Accountants). He has worked in a variety of Community Services sector organisations. He has experience in a wide range of corporate services responsibilities. Enhancing business efficiencies is a strength of Sean’s, achieving improvements through system implementation, coaching/developing finance teams and working closely with all stakeholders. Sean believes a strong and efficient ‘back of house’ service compliments and supports frontline workers enabling them to provide quality services to our clients. Meet our Team Acknowledgement of Country Acknowledgement of Country BCR Communities acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and celebrate their continuing culture, the world’s oldest living culture, and the contribution they make to the life of this region and our country. ​ 2023 ANNUAL REPORT 2022 ANNUAL REPORT 2021 ANNUAL REPORT 2020 ANNUAL REPORT 2019 ANNUAL REPORT 2018 ANNUAL REPORT 2017 ANNUAL REPORT Annual Reports ANNUAL REPORTS

  • SOCIAL GROUPS | BCR Communities

    AGEING WELL HISTORY BCR Communities Social Groups SPEND THE DAY WITH FRIENDS It’s time to get out of the house, have fun and spend time with your friends. The activities change every week – we might stay indoors for games, trivia or an art session or get in the bus and explore our stunning coastline or try a new café. While the activities may differ from week to week, what doesn’t change is the companionship, the conversation and something delicious for lunch! Click the buttons below to see the latest Social Group Activity Calendars. November Calendar Dec/Jan Calendar Weekly Social Groups BCR Communities has a varied calendar of social activities throughout the week including day trips, lunches out, special events, walking groups, trivia, games, art, music and more. ​ ​ Making friends the easy way It is harder to keep socially connected as we age, friends and family move away or health problems make it more difficult to get out of the house. BCR Communities Social Groups makes regularly meeting up with friends simple and fun, with transport available to pick you up and drop you home. Join our online social community for connection every day of the week We know that sometimes it can be difficult to leave the house to catch-up with friends, meet new friends or simply share common interests with others. There are many reasons any one of us can become socially isolated. That’s why BCR has created the BCR Communities App. Think of it as an online, or digital, Town Square - a place to meet others and get connected. You might already be a part of a social app like Facebook, or you might be completely new to online communities – either way this App is for you! ​ You can download the BCR Communities App onto your iPhone, Android Phone, iPad or Tablet. You can even access it on your computer. Once you join BCR Communities, you will be able to take part in online discussions, share information, join interest groups – for example, the Gardening Group or the Walking Group, and take a look at our Community Connects Calendar for upcoming events and activities. Most importantly, you will be able to connect with people and make new friends. ​ If this is of interest to you, but you think you might need help let us know and one of our friendly team will be more than happy to assist! Join BCR Communities "I haven’t been in the Wednesday Social Group for very long but I’m so glad I joined because they are a lovely group. It is great to be out of the house and meeting new people. I used to be a nurse so I’ve always been drawn to being around people." WILMA

  • CARER SUPPORT | BCR Communities

    AGEING WELL HISTORY Carer Support At BCR Communities we understand that while caring for someone is rewarding, it can also sometimes feel overwhelming and isolating. It is important to look after your own health and wellbeing and also be informed about what help is available to you as a carer. BCR centre based respite ‘Paradise’ is a small day-centre respite group tailored specifically for people living with dementia. The group meets every Monday from 9.30am to 2.30pm at the BCR Communities Paradise Cottage located at 16 Sanctuary Point Road, Sanctuary Point. ​ Our experienced staff provide care that is responsive and empathetic and aim to promote well-being with meaningful and fun activities. Morning tea and lunch is provided and clients feel supported in a comfortable and safe environment. BCR Carer Support Group BCR Communities Carer Support Group meets once a month on a Thursday afternoon for a cuppa and a chat. It is a relaxed and friendly environment where everybody has the opportunity to share their experiences, discuss challenges and support others. The meetings are currently held once a month at Paradise Cottage, 16 Sanctuary Point Road, from 1pm to 3pm . There is no cost and all carers are welcome. Upcoming Dates for 2023 : Thursday, 30 November Thursday, 14 December ​ Overnight respite BCR Communities' Paradise Cottage is the perfect location for a short break. Designed for people over 65 who rely on a carer for support, the comfortable cottage is close to the water, wildlife and local attractions of the Bay and Basin area. Carers can have time to relax and recharge at home knowing the person they care for is safe, well-supported and enjoying a range of activities during their stay. Find out more Other carer support Serviced by the Australian Government, the Carer Gateway provides emotional, practical and financial support for carers. Find out about counselling, tips and advice, peer support groups, financial help, coaching, emergency respite and other government support programs. 1800 422 737 Find out more Dementia Support Australia represents the 487,500 Australians living with dementia and their almost 1.6 million Australians carers. The website has resources, information, links to counselling, the latest research and events. There is also a free national dementia helpline which you can call any time. 1800 699 799 Find out more "I love my husband and want to care for him but as his dementia progresses, I’m spending more and more time at home alone with him. While my friends and family are sympathetic they really don’t understand what I’m going through like the other carers in the support group. It is so good to know that others are going through the same thing and get their advice and support. We also have a chat and a laugh together which helps." CARER SUPPORT GROUP MEMBER

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