Neighbourhood Centre Carers Craft Group volunteer their precious time to support the Coffs Coast community

Masks made by the Carers Craft Group worn by Bright Sparks Learning Group (BSLG) school students and volunteer tutors. Far left Darrin Allen of the Smith Family, back right Marie Lo Casio, Neighbourhood Centre Coordinator. Photo: supplied by Gai Newman.


WHAT do the unsung heroes of the Coffs Coast, our volunteers, do when life throws them a challenge?

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They just get on with things.

Dianne Duchateau, one of the organisers of the Neighbourhood Centre Carers Craft Group, told News Of The Area that the not for profit group, which has been together for around eight years, is “the best support group on the planet.”

“Many of us were already volunteers in different capacities until our circumstances changed and we became carers, which is often a full time job, 24 hours a day,” Dianne said.

“We call ourselves ‘backdoor volunteers’ because we’re still doing whatever we can to contribute to the community, within the limits of our personal circumstances.”

Grateful that the Neighbourhood Centre offered a venue after previous funding was cancelled, the group now aims to produce items for the Centre to distribute to clients.

“Earlier in the year we made 150 masks which were donated to groups such as the Bright Sparks Learning Group, a homework support group for high school students run by volunteer tutors, and for winter we knitted and crocheted beanies, neck warmers and fingerless gloves.”

Right now the group’s main focus is making jewellery and macrame potholders for Christmas gifts, while an ongoing project is making sensory blankets for stroke victims at the Coffs Harbour Hospital.

“People who have had strokes find it comforting to touch the blankets, which they get to keep,” Dianne said.

“We add lace and other textured fabrics, wooden beads, and shoe laces, which keep the patients’ fingers busy.”

“It’s up to the individual how long they’d like to stay and they can bring their own projects, or sit in for a cuppa and a chat – we just like each other’s company,” she added.

“If anyone needs other support we can find that for them as well.”

The group meets at the Neighbourhood Centre, 22 Earl Street on Tuesdays between 12.30 and 3.30.

For more information or to donate craft items call the Neighbourhood Centre on 66 483 694.



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