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GRAI Celebrate New Office Space

GRAI Sundowner talk
GRAI Chair June Lowe (left) and South Care CEO Dr. Nicky Howe introduce members and guests to the new space.

Last night GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc. (GRAI) celebrated the opening of a new office space in Manning’s South Care facility last night with a sundowner.

South Care provide health and social services to the wider community, including aged care, finances, Aboriginal family support and leadership training. At their Manning headquarters they have a number of community facilities including an activity room and kitchen, op shop and volunteer-run grocery store for those in need.

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South Care CEO Dr. Nicky Howe welcomed GRAI to the space, offering them use of a spare office as well as some of the community facilities.

Dr. Howe explained that GRAI and South Care first crossed paths last year through a project called ‘Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care Boards and Committees’ that aimed to get young people directly involved in aged care. GRAI agreed to become involved with the project and accpet a young person as a board member, a decision that turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the two organisations.

“Today, really what’s emerged from that is our absolute delight to be able to support another community-based organisation whose mission… which is really to be inclusive of the mature aged environment.”

GRAI Chair June Lowe said that GRAI’s relationship with South Care offered new possibilities for the wider community. “It is South Care’s property, but they’ve been incredibly generous and said ‘it’s ours, you may use it.’ So this is an extraordinary gift… This is a gift to the whole community, GRAI is a conduit, if you like.”

Lowe also emphasized that GRAI is open to suggestion from members of the LGBT community as to how the space should be used, as they hope to offer a range of options for people to get together.

“We hope that this will become a home for the LGBTI community projects, whether they’re one off or whether they’re ongoing, we know that social isolation is the scourge of older people in general and that problem is amplified by being a member of the LGBTI community” Lowe said.

“I’d also like to throw down the challenge, a challenge to the LGBTI community because we have a reputation of community solidarity and of supporting each other. Well, let’s see that in action. Let’s see what that looks like in action. We have an opportunity now, we have a couple of venues that are available a lot of the time when they’re not inuse for South Care’s purposes. Let’s see how we can extend solidarity across the generations and make sure that we don’t have isolated older lesbians and gays, transgender, bisexual and intersex people.”

GRAI is a volunteer run organisation working to improve LGBTI awareness in the aged care sector and fight social isolation for older members of the queer community.

You can find out more about GRAI on their website and find out more about South Care on their website.

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