Thursday, 26 October 2023
Grandcarers SA Big Village Conference
Rod and I, as your joint patrons, are very pleased to be here at the Big Village Conference, and I thank Grandcarers SA for bringing us all together today.
Earlier this year it was our pleasure to host a reception at Government House to mark your organisation’s 21st birthday and to celebrate all that it does for the grandparents and next-of-kin who are primary carers for children in our community.
We took the opportunity to recognise Grandcarers SA for its significant growth and contribution during this time, from its start as a small group of concerned grandparents meeting in lounge rooms, to the dynamic organisation you are in 2023.
I am pleased that Grandcarers SA now enjoys a city-based office, receives government funding to support children’s educational needs, and coordinates peer-group villages in Nuriootpa, Waikerie, Para Hills, Port Adelaide, Christies Beach, Murray Bridge and Goolwa, with more to come in Kadina and Gawler.
You are also well served by two distinguished and caring ambassadors, Lan Le and Jane Reilly.
As a result of your hard work, more than 1,200 families across South Australia are now connected with Grandcarers SA, many of whom are represented at this conference.
The name of this conference references the well-known saying that “it takes a village to raise a child”.
This is especially the case when a child’s parents are not available, or have reduced capacity, to care for their children.
This has been recently recognised by your organisation changing its name from Grandparents for Grandchildren SA to Grandcarers SA to acknowledge other next of kin carers such as aunts and uncles.
Rod and I thank Grandcarers SA for recognising the diversity of carers in our community.
No matter how someone has come to be a primary carer, your organisation’s practical and effective support - including advice and referrals, funding for children’s education and development needs, and access to peer group villages – makes a significant difference in their lives.
To the carers here, thank you for the important work you are doing.
By coming along today to learn about developments in government policy related to caring, as well as family law, scams, online grooming, wellness and other topics, you demonstrate your commitment to being the best carer possible.
As parents to four young adult children, Rod and I understand well the rewards and challenges of raising children, and know how deeply you care about supporting them and giving them opportunities in life.
We also understand the importance of taking some time for yourselves to rest, and build connections with other people going through similar experiences.
I trust today’s conference will provide some useful learnings, as well as the opportunity to spend time with others in a similar position to you, and offer your support and friendship.
I thank the Board and staff of Grandcarers SA for organising this conference, and I wish you all well for the future, as you provide the best care possible to young South Australians.
It is now my great pleasure to declare the conference open.