A New Direction for COA

I’d like to take this opportunity to set out some of the background  that encouraged the Committee of Management of COA to initiate  the changes that have been so discussed in our community.

When COA was first envisaged, it was the dream of a group of retirees to set up something that would meet their needs as they got older. Primarily, they wanted kosher food that would be delivered to their homes, but they also wanted somewhere they could meet, have a coffee and a chat. Kosher Meals on Wheels and The Krygier Centre did just that and, over the years, more activities were added as opportunities provided.

Of course, all these things cost money but COA never charged anywhere near what the actual cost was. So, how did we balance the books? It was through the generosity of members of our community, particularly those who lived through the Holocaust, had no family in Sydney and who found a home away from home at COA.

As the years have passed, so has this segment of  the community and the generous donations previously received have now dried up. In addition, Government legislation is impacting on the aged care sector. Any organisation offering services to older people now has to meet very strict criteria including hiring a high number of professionally qualified, paid staff – that number dependent on the number of older people attending.

Even increasing our charges from $10 – $15 per day didn’t come near to covering our costs. At the same time, the number of people attending decreased  dramatically after COVID and there are now only about half the number of attendees we had five years ago.

One option for the Committee of Management was to continue the way we were going and just use up our resources until we ran out of money. The other was to move Club COA to Burger where they specialise in services for older people with higher needs, and to think about what we can offer that will be exciting enough to bring people back to our Centre and cover its costs.

Part of the reason for this change is also that people like you and I want more than Club COA is able to offer. We are in the older age group but, fortunately are healthy and well, still able to get around on our own, still wanting to contribute and still wanting to do interesting things.

That’s the new direction COA will take. We want  lectures, outings and stimulating discussions rather than entertainment, games and chatting  To help bring this change about we will continue to offer our Art classes, Knitting group, Tai Chi and Bridge but we will need your input on programming. Tell us what you want to do, so you can go to a  COA which truly caters to your needs and be involved in the small groups on offer.

I can also report that our AGM was held on Monday 26th June and there was no election required as there were no new nominations. All existing members of  the Committee of Management stand in the same positions as held previously. For a full list of the Executive Members and Committee  Members of the COA Committee of Management please go to https://www.coasydney.org/management-committee-2021

Let me reiterate that COA is not closing down – it is reinventing itself. As things develop we will keep you up to date on new offerings, so I urge you to watch this space.

COA President, Ilona Lee AM

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