NEIGHBOUR-TO-NEIGHBOUR: Cathy Aird (right) with Rosie the dog and Brenda Carkeet at the wheel of the golf buggy transport, part of the service offered by 20 volunteers to make life better for fellow residents.
NEIGHBOUR-TO-NEIGHBOUR: Cathy Aird (right) with Rosie the dog and Brenda Carkeet at the wheel of the golf buggy transport, part of the service offered by 20 volunteers to make life better for fellow residents.

Cheery greeting awaits new village residents

MOVING to a retirement village is a big step and no one knows that better than the residents who have already adjusted to having done so.

That's why a new neighbour-to-neighbour program at Tumbi Umbi's Glengara Retirement Village has been such a hit.

Set up by residents with the help of management, the volunteer operation provides a welcome pack for newcomers and introduces them around, offers golf buggy transport to and from Glengara's social events, delivers books and DVDs and even arranges pet care when residents are unwell.

Having grown from a handful to about 20 in a few months, the group cares for the village's 450 residents and meets fortnightly to manage the program.

Resident and group chairwoman Cathy Aird said the response from residents and enthusiasm of the volunteers had been extremely positive.

"It's very important for people who are coming here from across the Coast, Sydney and all over the state to have a friendly face, so not everyone's a stranger to them,” Ms Aird said.

"We are just a group of like-minded people all with a focus on health and well-being and inclusion of all residents in the village.”

Having only lived at Glengara for a couple of years, she said she had about a 45-year history of involvement in community, sports and charity groups.

"I've always liked people and interacting with them and making sure everyone enjoys life to the fullest,” she said.

Her own philosophy, she said, was "if I don't enjoy it, I don't do it, so I can say truthfully I am thoroughly enjoying this - helping others and meeting a lot of people I hadn't met”.

Ms Aird said it was a good lifestyle at Glengara, with "a very big social life, so you can never say there's nothing to do in this village”.

That includes arts and crafts, bowls, swimming, barbecues, social events and bus trips, billiards, an auditorium for live entertainment and a workshop, library, gym and community centre.

While people certainly helped each other out in other villages, she believed the formalised organisation was something new.

"But it's still very much a neighbour to neighbour program and very much a group production,” she said.

"It's about bringing people together,” she said.

There will soon be more people, with residents expected to move into the new care apartments before Christmas.

To find out more, phone 1800 955 070 or register your details at glengaracare.com.au.


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