Waratah Respite Services, a not for profit community based organisation, has been providing social support for older people and respite care for over 30 years. The centre based day programs at Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga provide activities for older people to enjoy and a break for families from their caring role, while the six bedroom residential respite cottage provides a longer overnight respite care option.
During the COVID shutdown of group based services, the team created our Facebook page to stay connected to clients and their families. The service started the ‘Waratah Production Company’ with staff and clients of our respite cottage posting weekly videos of dancing, singing and activities – all in a COVID safe way.
When we could restart our Day Centre Programs we found we were unable to use our Waratah Centre as it is attached to our residential respite cottage. After finding a few short term venues, we found a temporary home at the Masonic Lodge Hall. After six months we are still there but the Day Program and Cottage staff have been incredibly and wonderfully creative and adaptable, and determined to continue providing social support and respite for our clients and carers.