Calvary Cessnock Auxiliary – Supporting the Cessnock Community for over 50 Years
10th May 2017
Current Auxiliary members from back left: Christine Morris, Rosalie Bailey, Gwen Watson, Iris Burston, Cynthia Snelgrove, Joy Potts, Norma Bailey, Laraine Talbot
The Calvary Cessnock Auxiliary was established in May 1963 and has served the local community for over 50 years. The group of 10 are part of the 6 million volunteers across Australia that will be celebrated this week as part of National Volunteer Week (8th -14th week).
The group initially formed to provide a kiosk service at the former Allandale hospital now known as Calvary Cessnock Retirement Community. The auxiliary is mainly retirees who give their time to help others. Nowadays the group run the onsite Billabong Café with all funds raised going towards equipment and gifts for the residents. The team also cater for special events including ANZAC day morning tea, training courses and staff events.
President Norma Bailey explained “The café is the social hub for Calvary Cessnock and we have come to know many of the residents, their families and staff that regularly visit”.
The current longest serving member and club treasurer Joy Potts said “I have lived in Cessnock my entire life. I decided to join the Auxiliary in 1988 and there were so many volunteers. Times were different and many married women tended not to work so had more time to support the local community. I joined through a friend and it became not just about helping others but a social activity”.
President Norma Bailey said “There are not many of us now but we are just as dedicated. Many of us work at Calvary Cessnock 3 days a week. We are able to give back to the residents and staff through Christmas gifts, staff value awards and medical equipment. I have been involved for a very long time, helping out my mum who was a committee member”.
Auxiliary member Gwen Watson, who joined the group after moving from Sydney, said the best part about volunteering at Calvary Cessnock is “being able to help people. It’s also about the fellowships you form with the staff and the residents here. I feel like I am making a real difference by just being able to sit down with residents and their family members and provide them with a coffee or tea and someone to empathise with them”.
Fellow member Laraine Talbot emphasised “I love volunteering. It’s great to give back”.