Author Archives: Grace Demaio

WE HAVE MOVED

Co.As.It. Community Services begins a new chapter in a new location. The Brisbane team have moved to newly renovated offices at 473 Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche. The building is the new home of all segments of the organisation including the Italian Language Centre (moving at the end of the school year). The building has a single level for all staff to enable consultation and connection. The new renovation includes state of the art kitchens and a beautiful break out space for all staff to utilise.

Amici House Community Café

Bracken Ridge has a new Community Café at the newest community hub, Amici House, at Bracken Ridge. The former gospel chapel on Bracken Ridge Road has received a new life as a café and community facility. Opening the facility on 8 May, the Hon. Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education, Industrial Relations and Racing, praised the “wonderful” centre, noting the quality of service Co.As.It. has been providing to the community for more than 40 years, including to her own parents.

Other guests including Italian Vice Consul for Qld and NT Oreste Lastella, Luke Howarth MP,  Cr. Tracy Davis, Cr. Sandy Landers, Co.As.It. CEO Dina Ranieri, Co.As.It. President Cav. Nereo Brezzi and President Com.It.Es (Committee for Italians Abroad) Mariangela Stagnitti, were among many other notable VIPs at the official opening. The commercial kitchen and various allied health equipment were obtained with funding from the Community Benefit Fund, which was represented by Alan Sparks, AM, BEM.

Beth Merkus and Sue Lawrence-Duman were thrilled to see their father’s legacy being repurposed. Designed and built originally by Albert Lawrence and Arthur Sweeney, the newly renovated community hub boasts a commercial kitchen, allied health facilities, a large deck for café guests and community gatherings, ramps and a 46 space carpark, making it easier for community members to access the facility. The centre will service Co.As.It. clients from Brisbane’s northern suburbs to Redcliffe, Sandgate, Pine Rivers and Caboolture, providing exercise classes, physiotherapy and podiatry, information sessions and social group activities.

The community café offers Italian cannoli, panini, arancini, lasagne as well as staples such as wraps and muffins. The range of coffees is extensive, all day options, and delicious smoothies are also on offer. The café is set in the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding Amici House.  Open from 7am to 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday, Amici House Café is located at 294 Bracken Ridge Road, Bracken Ridge.

View the menu here!

Amici House is Officially Open!

On Saturday 8 May 2021, Co.As.It. Community Services celebrated the official opening of its third community centre, Amici House in Bracken Ridge. Two events took place including a VIP event with over 60 guests including The Hon. Grace Grace MP, Qld Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing; The Hon. Luke Howarth MP, Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Federal Member for Petrie and also representing Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck and The Hon. Trevor Evans MP; Councillor Sandy Landers, Councillor for Bracken Ridge Ward representing Brisbane’s Lord Mayor; Councillor Tracy Davis, Councillor for McDowall Ward and Vice Consul Oreste Lastella, representing Her Excellency Francesca Tardioli and Italian Ambassador and Salvatore Napolitano, Italian Consul for Qld and NT.

The VIP event included a welcome speech by Cav. Nereo Brezzi, President of Co.As.It. Community Services, noting the organisation is going from strength to strength in catering to the needs of the community, with the centre being accessible to seniors and NDIS clients living in the Moreton Bay area covering Redcliffe and Caboolture communities.  He acknowledged the work of Co.As.It. Treasurer, IT Manager Tony Brown, and CEO Dina Ranieri in making the centre a reality. The Hon. Grace Grace mentioned the “wonderful” centre itself which has a community cafè and large deck out the front, the service rooms for physio and podiatry, the beautiful auditorium allowing community members to come together. She acknowledged Co.As.It. for providing quality services for over 40 years assisting seniors, including her own mum and dad who benefitted when they were alive. The “Stay Active” room was described as a “terrific” space for seniors to exercise. The minister mentioned the importance of community and centres such as Amici House.

Local Bracken Ridge Councillor Sandy Launders said she was “really impressed” with the community centre and will look into using it for upcoming events. One of the features of the centre is a fully equipped catering kitchen made possible by the Gambling Community Benefit Fund that provided a grant and was represented by Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Alan Sparks, AM, BEM. Other amenities include a large outdoor patio, onsite parking, ramps for ease of access and beautifully landscaped gardens. VIPs were treated to generous chef-prepared canapès, peach bellinis, sponsored by Phil D’Aro from Ital’iquore, and cups of coffee from the Amici House Community Cafè.

In the afternoon, a Community Open Day welcomed over 100 visitors, including Co.As.It. staff, clients living in the local area, the local community and their families.

Greeted by a team of friendly volunteers who handed out show bags, drinks, and refreshments. The afternoon festivities included music by Nick Trovas, free coffees and time to sit and relax, enjoying the facilities and surrounds.  Very special surprise guests were the two daughters of the person who built the original gospel chapel, Mr Albert Lawrence. Daughters Beth Merkus and Sue Lawrence-Duman attended the event, honouring their father’s effort who together with Mr Arthur Sweeney designed and built the church. They learned of the event after Beth’s daughter got a flyer in the local mail, calling her mother in relief and excitement knowing the church was to be given new life as a community centre.

On the day the Co.As.It. staff said our clients cannot wait to attend as soon as the social groups are scheduled, the centre will also provide NDIS workshops and social events. The opening of Amici House was a huge success.

Social outings are back!

Our social group outings are back after a long hiatus. The first for 2021 will take place on the 22 February 2021 from Brisbane South to the Botanical Gardens Cafe and then to Greenmount RSL.  You can check out the information on the flyer here. For those living on the north side of Brisbane, the same trip is on offer – you can view the flyer here. The social outings have been a hallmark of Co.As.It. for over 40 years.  Participation is for people who are over 65 and have contacted My Aged Care and obtained a referral for social support (which enables participation in ‘social groups’). The program falls under Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CSHP). The process can be started via a call to My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (free call).

Dementia Information Session – In Italian

Incontro informativo presso l’Italian Language Centre. Argomento: “Cambiamenti di personalità e comportamento nelle persone con la demenza.” (Si propongono valide strategie & efficaci atteggiamenti per il caregiver)
English Translation:
Informative ‘get together’ at the Italian Language Centre. 42 Newbery Street, Newmarket.
Topic: ‘How to Deal with challenging behaviours in people living with dementia”.
The presentation will be in Italian.
Strictly limited numbers. Please register to attend by calling Cintia on 3624 6100.
Bookings are essential. FREE COVID-safe event.
Ages 16+ are welcome.
If anything changes due to COVID we will inform all registered attendees.
If you cannot attend and/or you do not understand Italian – please visit www.coasit.asn.au/videos/ to view information on ‘Understanding Dementia’ in English and Italian.

SGA Update Tuesday 12 January

All Social Group Activity centres are closed until 25 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January.

All Stay Active Classes are postponed until 25 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January.

All Dance Classes are postponed until 28 January 2021 in line with the Qld Govt. Public Health Direction, provided there are zero cases of community transmission until 1am on 22nd January. There are a few spots left – every Thursday at 3.15 pm – 4.15 pm – please call 3624 6100 to reserve your spot.

A thought for those in need

Christmas is a polarising time of year. For most, it is a time to gather with family and reflect on the year that was. For others, it exacerbates loneliness and isolation. In a year when isolation has been the over-riding theme, Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd has tried to show some of its most vulnerable clients that they’re not alone and that people care about them. Forty very deserving clients received luxury hampers with contents individually sourced and packed by Co.As.It. staff. Judging by the tears and deep gratitude expressed by most recipients, this small gesture made a big difference by brightening many Christmases.

One client has been recently widowed and forced to move to less expensive rental accommodation. As a pensioner, whose only child lives overseas and without family in Queensland, she was facing a bleak Christmas. While the hamper won’t change her isolation on Christmas day, it will at least remind her that there are people near who care about her and it will enable her to indulge a little over the festive season.

Another client has a daughter who lives in Austria and a son who lives in Hervey Bay, but doesn’t visit. She has daily telephone contact with a brother, but no face-to-face contact. She was overwhelmed and delighted to receive the hamper, stating that she will be spending Christmas day alone.

For most of us, the lifting of border restrictions and the number of people allowed to gather in homes, means that a “Covid-normal” Christmas won’t be very different to a usual Christmas. Unfortunately, for many elderly and disadvantaged Australians, being alone at Christmas is usual. Whilst a Christmas hamper may not fill the void created by the absence of family and friends, it does remind people that there are others who care about them and wish them well, now and throughout the year.

The humility of some clients can be overwhelming. One of the recipients has recently been discharged from hospital and is receiving shopping assistance. He rents with two other men and has not seen any family members for more than 40 years, but despite this, suggested that perhaps Co.As.It. should give the hamper to a “more deserving” client. He was assured that he was very deserving and he ultimately accepted the hamper, but wouldn’t smile in the photo due to his lack of teeth.

Another deserving recipient is recovering from two surgeries intended to improve her mobility, whilst visiting her 20-something son who’s recently been diagnosed with two aggressive cancers, in hospital every day. A Co.As.It. client since 2015, this lovely woman is always ready with a cold drink and a biscuit for her care workers, conscious that they often spend all day out and about.

 

Every hamper recipient has been overcome with gratitude and each one was truly deserving. Co.As.It. wishes each and every client and their families a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2021.

International Women’s Day

Due to the current uncertainty regarding COVID, management has taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event in March. The decision is due to the Queensland Government’s Public Health Directives that are in place until 1am on 22nd January 2021.  Without the guarantee of no further restrictions after the 22nd of January,  the event cannot go ahead.

Co.As.It. Shines in the Eyes of Clients and Regulator

Co.As.It. Community Services Ltd comes up trumps in regulator’s audit.  100% compliance was achieved in all eight of the new Aged Care Quality Standards. The performance report is available to view by the public on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website. https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/services/coasit-community-services-700747

The organisation has undergone triennial audits since 2000 and has always met the relevant service standards.  The New Aged Care Quality Standards have been implemented by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and came into force from 1st July 2019. For each standard, providers must demonstrate that they:

·      understand the requirement;

·      apply the requirement, and this is clear in the way they provide care and services;

·      monitor how they are applying the requirement and the outcomes they achieve; and

·      review outcomes and adjust their practices based on these reviews to keep improving.

 

Conducted over three days, auditors spoke to clients, community care workers, co-ordinators, clinical and allied health team leaders and management to confirm Co.As.It.’s compliance with the standards that stipulate eight outcomes for clients. Each standard stipulates a client outcome addressing the following:

1.    Consumer dignity and choice

2.    Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers

3.    Personal care and clinical care

4.    Services and supports for daily living

5.    Organisation’s service environment

6.    Feedback and complaints

7.    Human resources and

8.    Organisational governance

It was a great outcome for the organisation with no specific areas identified for improvements. Co.As.It. abides by its continuous improvement policy and will always endeavour to review and improve systems and processes. This allows the organisation to meet the needs of its clients, staff and government expectations.