Help brighten the lives of local seniors

Day Club attendees on Monday November 11. A few were missing that day and men do come as well.
Day Club attendees on Monday November 11. A few were missing that day and men do come as well.

For 30 years, the Bellinger Valley Day Club has been offering social interaction and fun activities to older people living in our community who are unable to attend more active programs.

More than a dozen people, most in their 80s, come together on Mondays at the Senior Citizens Centre in Hyde St to share the hours from 10am to 2pm, enjoying friendships, cards, bingo, gentle exercise and guest speakers as well as morning tea and a light lunch.

Bronty, who moved to Bellingen in 2017 to be near her daughters, said she comes every Monday and wouldn't miss it.

"The volunteers are beautiful, we do wonderful things and the girls are a lot of fun. We play games and really have a very nice time."

Josie, who has been coming since 2012, enjoys the friendships and the chance to have an outing.

"It's my only day out," she said. "I'm in a nursing home, at Bellorama."

Laurice said she'd lived in Bellingen all her life and has been involved in different organisations, but she's made a whole new circle of friends at the Day Club.

"I've met all these ladies who I didn't know and I've grown attached to them. I've been coming for a couple of years and it fills in a lovely gap."

Unfortunately, the Day Club is struggling to stay viable because of a lack of volunteers to support its operation.

Some of the current volunteers are in the same age bracket as the seniors they are helping, like Lea Hopkins, who has been doing the catering for 10 years but is about to give it up.

Club coordinator Gina Troy said volunteers treasure the friendships they make and enjoy making a difference in their community.

"There are roles to match your skills and interests, such as catering, leading gentle exercises, organising leisure activities and games, serving morning tea and lunch, chatting and supporting members to have a great day," she said.

The Bellinger Valley Club is one of 68 clubs in NSW and was formed in 1989. Although sponsored by the RSL and supported by the Dept Veterans' Affairs, the Day Club is open to any interested member of the community, not just ex-service people.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to come along and see what the Day Club has to offer, please phone Gina Troy 6655 1756.

In the kitchen: Gina Troy, Joan Bedwell and Lea Hopkins

In the kitchen: Gina Troy, Joan Bedwell and Lea Hopkins