Random Acts of Kindness at BallyCara

Throughout the month of February we have been spreading kindness around BallyCara with feel good quotes and random coffee vouchers. This Saturday is Random Acts of Kindness Day with the theme being "Make Kindness the Norm"… which is exactly what BallyCara’s Carers’ Auxiliary stands for!

They are a group of Residents within the Village who are dedicated to fundraising for Residential Care, as well as other groups in BallyCara such as the social support group, Invigorate. They volunteer to do this because they love the community feel that BallyCara offers and want to spread that joy and sentiment around. They really do embody our Sona Values through and through by ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to feel & embrace that community bond and believe contributing to improving others’ quality of life is a worthy cause. 

The Auxiliary are involved in many aspects of life within BallyCara’s main site at Scarborough:

  • They have a gift shop which Residents, staff, visitors, other community members can purchase items from; with this money going directly to improving and adding to lifestyle activities for Residental Care.
  • They liaise with BallyCara's Residential Services Manager to confirm what items may be suitable to purchase.
  • They cooperate with other groups in BallyCara to provide donations e.g. the Men's Shed have constructed chairs, the craft group make a variety of items from knitted scarves to jewellery pieces, and of course Village Residents donate home-made goodies (the jams and preserves are always a hit at the fairs!)
  • They host events such as the Winter and Christmas Fairs. These are usually run with support from the Men's Shed and Resident's Committee e.g. cooking sausage sizzles, vintage motor vehicles, lego and other displays.

The gift shop was conceived during Covid lockdowns as a way for Residents to still purchase small items and get out and about while the shops were closed, and residential communities were under tighter restrictions. The concept took off from there and has grown into a successful venture for the group, with them able to give generously each year to Residential Care and expand their charitable contributions to other groups within BallyCara such as Invigorate.

Many of the items they have helped purchase over the years can be enjoyed by all - artwork, Tovertafel (which is fantastic for hand-eye coordination and social interactions), animatronic animals/babies (are particularly useful for those who have been diagnosed with dementia), and so much more. One of the latest big purchases was the virtual headsets. These are used for numerous activities including, but not limited to, immersing the Residents in places that they have either been in their lives, or places that they wish they could have gone to - from Sunshine Coast travels all the way over to the European Alps. Depending on the functionality of the Resident they can also play games - these can be physical such as fishing, or brain training such as word games.

Last year the Auxiliary had a very successful fundraising year being able to give over $10,000 to Residential Care for a variety of items, as well as gifting $3200 in Christmas gifts to Residential and Invigorate. These gifts are so appreciated since it may be the only present some people receive as they do not have family close by. The Auxiliary are hoping to match these figures in 2024 and already have some ideas of what could be purchased - air fryers for the Invigorate group as a start!

These are huge feats by a devoted group though none of this would be possible without the kindness and genoristy of everyone who has donated or purchased something. These donations and purchases come from all corners of BallyCara and even extend to the wider community. The gift shop is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3pm, in the Village. It's a great opportunity to discover the talents of BallyCara’s Residents and staff who have donated items.

The Auxiliary also had a hand in the commencement of a Peer Support Group in early 2022 that benefits not just those in the Village, but also those who are in a caring role, whether this is a loved one, friends of the Village or carers; everyone is invited to join. The support group is designed where participants can share experiences and learn from other carers alike. It is a chance to make friendships, mingle with others, invite external support networks, and receive education about matters that may be concerning you. Their one focus is to remove the isolation barrier for carers and their loved ones. There are also opporunities to have guest speakers lead sessions, such as Jenna from Wellways Carer Gateway, that are focused on a variety of topics. The Auxiliary organise all the catering so the group are able to focus on supporting each other through what can be difficult circumstances.

So even though we observe Random Acts of Kindness Day, there is no reason why kindness has to be limited to one day each year. As the Carers' Auxiliary have proven it is something that can be achieved at any time, and for nothing more than to put a smile on someone else's face!

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Acknowledgment of Country

BallyCara acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which our residences are located and we pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We extend that respect to the Traditional Owners across this country where we live, work and play.


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