Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Reception for Grandparents for Grandchildren

It is Rod’s and my great pleasure as joint patrons to welcome you to Government House to mark this, your 21st year of devoted service; your “coming of age” if you will.

On an occasion such as a significant milestone it is always opportune to reflect on how far Grandparents for Grandchildren has come from its early days.

Back in 2002, a small group of concerned grandparents who were struggling to be full-time carers of their grandchildren, met in a lounge room to find ways to help their grandchildren and each other.

Because they loved their grandchildren, because they wanted to share ways to find help for them, because they wanted to support each other by sharing their experiences.

Fast forward to today and Grandparents for Grandchildren has grown to have an office in Pitt Street near the Central Market; gained government funding to support children’s educational needs; has developed six peer-group villages in Nuriootpa, Waikerie, Para Hills, Port Adelaide, Christies Beach and Goolwa with more in the pipeline to soon double its presence, including more country areas and a Kaurna Plains Peer group village.

As a result, more than 1,000 families across South Australia are now connected with Grandparents for Grandchildren.

This vital support has been built through people’s dedication, caring and commitment. As patrons, Rod and I thank you for those heartfelt efforts.

We applaud and encourage your commitment to further expanding your services to Aboriginal and non-English speaking communities.

Rod and I aren’t grandparents yet, but we can well imagine how those of you who are must feel when, instead of planning or enjoying retirement after raising your own children and seeing them have children, you are suddenly thrust into the role of raising young children again …

… a time when your own plans have to be put on hold, when you may not be able to catch up so much with long-time friends because of your caring responsibilities …

… a time of having to shoulder additional financial obligations or battle the legal system, or grapple with the emotional strain of dealing with children who may have been through trauma.

This is all at a time when you may have your own health challenges , may tire more easily and don’t necessarily know where to turn.

But there is help. In just the last financial year alone, Grandparents for Grandchildren provided:

  • Peer support to 460 clients, representing 638 children
  • Answered 700 helpline calls
  • Provided financial help for 234 children, including reimbursements for 36 laptops, school uniforms for 83 children, sports clothing and equipment for 76 children, and extra-curricular activity fee and equipment support for 39 children.

Of course, these statistics don’t tell the full story of Grandparents for Grandchildren.

Nor could they.

Your story is the story of the 78-year old who is now looking after her six-year-old grandchild and will face coping with a teenager when well into her 80s.

It is the story of people who found somewhere to turn, found someone who understands, someone to talk to who knows what it’s like to be put through the mill. Someone who can point the way.

Rod and I thank the board, staff, volunteers and founders who have given of themselves to ensure Grandparents for Grandchildren can connect, empower and engage for as long as is needed.

That’s what you are able to do when you have come of age and we wish you well for the next 21 years and beyond.

Coming events