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.

Harmonious Workplace Celebrates Multiculturalism

Harmonious Workplace Celebrates Multiculturalism

About 60 people gathered at Co.As.It. recently, to celebrate Harmony Day. With enough food to feed five times as many people, the acknowledgement that we’ve all come from somewhere else was demonstrated by food from all over the world. Having acknowledge the Turrbal and Jagera peoples as the traditional owners of the land, staff shared recipes and dishes from their ancestors’ countries of origin, before participating in some gentle Latin dancing.

With staff speaking a total of 52 languages, other than English, Co.As.It. is a microcosm of Australia and definitely somewhere that should celebrate its successful multiculturalism. What began as a day to acknowledge March 21st, the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, has grown to a week of celebrating Australia’s multiculturalism and the successful integration of immigrants into the community.

Co.As.It. staff placed posters, maps, flags and other mementos of their heritage on the walls and chatted about the history of the foods they had brought, almost all of which were home-made. The blue and orange Co.As.It. uniforms were enriched with Mexican tapestry belts, national soccer team shirts and various other accessories, or by additional orange, the Harmony Day colour. The Harmony Day website states that traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Many people choose to wear something orange during Harmony Week to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.

Co.As.It. runs free weekly dance classes at the Italian Language Centre in Newmarket and staff were treated to half an hour of dancing with professional Latin dance teacher Rafael Pitarello. Staff left the event feeling refreshed and that night, many family members were treated to leftovers from the day. For information about Co.As.It.’s free dance classes, contact Cintia Paolino on 3624 6100 or email cintiap@coasit.asn.au.

New Skills in Lockdown

Since March, when life as we knew it was turned upside down, social media has been filled with pictures of sour dough bread and other home cooking delights. An onlooker could be forgiven for assuming that the whole world is consumed with cooking and making music videos. Not everyone, however, is focused on food. Co.As.It.’s NDIS participant, Lillian Northcott has maintained social visits from her community care worker Mara, so she is not totally isolated.

The two pass the time playing board games and chatting. When the physical distancing measures were first introduced, Lillian turn her hand to a craft activity. Lillian is now whiling away the hours painting terracotta pots, a past time that lets her creativity flow. While Lillian says the pots are a work in progress, it’s obvious that they brightens the lives of all who see them. Lillian is keen for the restrictions to be lifted, but in the meantime she’s enjoying her original creations and says she finds painting a relaxing hobby.

For more information about Co.As.It.’s NDIS services, contact Paola on 3624 6100.

International Women’s Day 2020

More than 360 guests, predominantly women, attended Co.As.It.’s high tea for International Women’s Day (IWD), Saturday 7th March.

This year’s IWD theme of #Each for Equal stressed that individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Attendees were treated to addresses from Hon. Grace Grace, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, Lady Mayoress, Nina Schrinner, Co.As.It. CEO Dina Ranieri and keynote speaker, Belinda Cox, Communities and Partnerships Program Manager from the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service, who delivered a highly informative and poignant speech about the current state of domestic violence in Queensland and nationally.

Prior to introducing Ms Cox, Ms Ranieri gave a well-received address highlighting the potential threats posed to aged care workers, who are predominantly women, from the spread of coronavirus, and the role of women, as the mothers of future generations, in combatting the unacceptably high rates of domestic violence.

Of course there was time for fun and frivolity too, with sponsorship from Italiquore, fashion parades by Designer Emporium and ModnamarKa and more than 35 raffles drawn. Funds raised went to a very worthy cause, Co.As.It.’s dementia and carer support program.

Stay Active Classes are Back

Our Stay Active Classes are back.

Co.As.It. physiotherapist, Leonie, runs an exercise group suitable for people aged 65 years and over. The program is aimed at optimizing strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Enhance your overall wellbeing and delay age-related stiffness. Ideal for those able to mobilize without the use of a walking aid, walker or wheelchair. FREE and bookings are essential.

FREE Stay Active Classes. Every Monday. 

9.30am to 10.15am

The Community Place 20 Clark Street, Wooloowin

Senior’s Week Health & Technology Forum

Safety Switches demonstration at the Health & Technology Forum

On Wednesday 21 August 2019 Co.As.It. Community Services hosted a Health & Technology Forum for Senior’s Week thanks to support from COTA (Council on the Ageing). The event was geared towards people in the community who are over 65 years of age, wishing to learn more about technology, social connections, staying active, electrical safety, POA’s (Power of Attorneys) and how to arrange an advance health directive plus much, much more. In essence, the topics were specifically designed to share knowledge that is vital to our community. Good timing, given the current state of the health system and our ageing population.

The forum was attended by over 140 guests and was held upstairs at the Gaythorne RSL from 10am until 12.30pm, followed by a lunch in the banquet room until 2pm. The guests were welcomed by eMcee Sharon Smith who is the Team Leader Care Services Coordination at Co.As.It. Community Services. The event had special guest speaker Brett Harrison, HSE Business Partner from Energex who shared information on how to ensure appliances are replaced and the importance of safety switches. Homes that are over 15 years old may not have safety switches installed.  A safety switch is an electrical safety device specially designed to immediately switch the electricity when electricity ‘leaks’ to earth at a level harmful to a human. These devices offer a high level of personal protection from electric shock.

Electrical security and safety has been a long-term concern for the welfare of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients Co.As.It. supports. It is not unusual for our community support staff to visit homes where there are multiple adapters attached to one power board, wires snaking over floors and appliances often doubled up and running through multiple power boards. Fundamentally, it has been identified that in this target group there is a limited understanding of electric safety i.e. circuit breakers and other safety devices.  

Another special guest speaker, Antonio Palella, Principal Solicitor from PHV Law shared examples of what may happen if legal matters are not put into effect prior to the death of a loved one. He discussed POA’s, and described the importance of having a Health Care Directive. A health care directive is a document that outlines treatment decisions that a patient has asked to be followed if they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves.

Other topics included keeping active, how to maintain social connections by Laura Panarello Counsellor/Dementia Support Officer, how to access aged care by Stefania Di Lione, Regional Assessment Service and Michelle Calabro, Home Care Package Intake Leader, how to stay active by Diana Barreto, Allied Health Assistant, navigating technology and how to avoid scams by Cintia Paolino, Community Services Officer.

The event ended with generous applause as the guests were appreciative of the valuable information. Another highlight was the delicious meal of alternate offering of fish and chips and salad, or roast with vegetables, with traditional Italian music compiled by Cintia Paolino. The guests enjoyed the extra time for socializing and the Gaythorne RSL team ensured each person enjoyed their day.  

For more information on electrical safety, social connections, staying active and/or how to navigate aged care services, please contact mail@coasit.asn.au

If your home was built over 15 years ago and you would like information about safety switches please contact mail@coasit.asn.au

To attend FREE technology classes in Newmarket or Carina please contact cintiap@coasit.asn.au

For more information on advanced healthcare directives please contact enquiries@phvlaw.com.au

Excellence in Age Services Award

Co.As.It. Community Services was proud to be acknowledged as one of only four State Finalists in the Organisation Award on Thursday 14 March 2019 by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA). The award ceremony took place at The Star, Gold Coast and was proudly supported by HESTA & McCullough Robertson Lawyers. The ‘Excellence in Age Services Awards’ recognise the outstanding achievements of the age services industry and many rising stars from the age care industry in Queensland participated in the event.

 

The awards celebrate the passion and achievements of organisations, teams, and individuals in the service of older Australians. Co.As.It. Community Services was nominated on the strength of their initiative and innovation of recent programs. The most notable has been the ‘Adopt a Nonna or Nonno’ Volunteer Program that connects the wider community and alleviates the isolation and alienation of older people. People without grandparents have made inter-generational connections and older, isolated clients now have an injection of new friendships, companionship and social contact. The improvement made on the lives of older people is identical to the benefits derived from volunteer visits under the CVS (Community Visitors Scheme) program.

 

Co.As.It.’s Allied Health team members innovated the LASER Program (Library of Assistive Specialised Equipment Register), a free service where clients can trial medical aids, specialised equipment and other technology before purchasing. Medical aids and equipment are expensive and the team were very concerned about the number of gadgets and devices regularly abandoned by clients. Disadvantaged, they could not return the devices nor afford to re-purchase something else. The equipment is also available for short-term needs obviating an outright purchase. Clients have continually valued the initiative, making more informed decisions, empowering their right to choose well without risk and expense. The equipment is also available for short-term rehabilitation, obviating an outright purchase.

 

The award night was attended by Co.As.It.’s CEO Dina Ranieri, Tony Brown and Nella Alba. A framed certificate was awarded to Co.As.It. Community Services in recognition of their excellent achievements.

Harmony and Delights International Women’s Day 2019

Brisbane, QLD. March 11, 2019 –  Co.As.It. Community Services celebrated its 8th Annual International Women’s Day event with a “Harmony & Delights” Morning Tea on Saturday 9 March. The event kicked off with a “Mingling Hour” for guests to enjoy bubbles and canapes. Rosanna Natoli from Sunshine Coast Channel Seven hosted the event and guest speakers, Marcus Pearce and Laura Panarello, shared insights into longevity and dementia, with over 300 guests.  Morning Tea delights included delicious scones, quiches and eclairs. Tania Geerssen was the lucky raffle prize winner, taking home a sparkling diamond ring donated by Crown Family Jewellers. All proceeds went towards Co.As.It.’s Dementia & Carer Support Program.

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

International Womens Day

Get Into Harmony Day 2019

This year more than ever, we can #standtogether in support of Cultural Diversity. Enjoy a morning exploring different foods from different cultures at The Community Place Kalinga at the old Kalinga Bowls Club on Thursday March 21st for Harmony Day.   Together with Co.As.It. Community Services, the morning is open to diverse communities and includes a sausage sizzle to kick things off. Our heritage of migration has provided us with a rich blend of cultures and the event provides an occasion to enjoy different nationalities, languages and food – all on offer to members of the public between 10am and 12pm.  Please bring one of your favourite traditional dishes to share.  As places are limited, reserve your spot by calling the Community Place on 07 3857 1152 or Co.As.It. Community Services on 07 3624 6100 by Wednesday 20/03/19. Address: 20 Clark Street, Woolowin. Fully Air Conditioned.