Naomi Mulcahy from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Iluka Sandpipers Day Club co-ordinator Beth Organ and the vice-president NSW RSL branch Bob Crosthwaite, OAM, welcomed members and volunteers at Iluka yesterday.
Naomi Mulcahy from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Iluka Sandpipers Day Club co-ordinator Beth Organ and the vice-president NSW RSL branch Bob Crosthwaite, OAM, welcomed members and volunteers at Iluka yesterday.

Sandpipers offers cheap day out

FOR Desiree Auer and her mum June, the new Iluka Sandpipers Day Club gives both of them a day of entertainment each week and a chance to make some new friends, without breaking the bank.

Yesterday saw the official opening of the club by the NSW RSL branch vice-president Bob Crosthwaite, OAM, who presented a $200 cheque to its co-ordinator Beth Organ.

Iluka now joins Maclean, Grafton, Evans Head and Yamba as the tenth day club in the Far North Coast region.

“It’s a pretty good day for us,” Desiree said, who joined as a volunteer and a member.

“It gets us out of the house without spending heaps of money.”

Desiree has been caring for her mum for 10 years and said they have both made friends and enjoy the games played each Wednesday.

“You hear about people in the community, but it’s nice to finally put a face to them,” she said.

The driving force behind getting the joint RSL/ Department of Veteran Affairs club up and running came from the Iluka Woombah RSL sub branch secretary Brian Thomas.

“A lot of people retire to Iluka with their partner who may become ill or die after a couple of years,” Mr Thomas said.

“They often have no family and no social network, so the club is very important in giving them a social day out.

“The club is like a family to our members and they’ll cancel a doctor’s appointment if it falls on a Wednesday.”

Mr Thomas said that after a hesitant response last year to the idea of a club, members of the RSL were soon convinced of its benefits, and when the bowling club came on board as a supporter and provider of the venue the deal was done.

“We went ahead and held a four-day training workshop for our volunteers at the beginning of the year, and initially the volunteers out-numbered members two to one,” Mr Thomas said.

But the word soon got out and membership has now expanded to 32, with 18 volunteers.

Local musician Willy Hona was asked to entertain at yesterday’s opening, but each week members are treated to a different guest speaker or performer. So far they’ve seen a fashion parade put on by the local op-shop, line-dancers and myriad games.

The members are picked up by the volunteers and returned home, and morning tea and lunch is provided.

Iluka Sandpipers Day Club

Wednesdays from 10am -2pm at the Iluka Bowling Club.

Free membership and a daily fee of $5 (includes lunch and morning tea)



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