How our services grew

How our services grew

COA began with one essential service – the delivery of Kosher Meals-on-Wheels. 

COA began as a purely volunteer driven organisation – it had been established for 2 years before hiring its first staff member.

Our volunteers went to clients homes delivering meals and spending time with each recipient, sometimes helping with small tasks – changing a light bulb, collecting the mail. But soon it became apparent that people needed further services to help them remain in their own homes for as long as practicable.

So our first social worker, Robyn Tsipris, came on board to assess clients, coordinate home based services, and provide ad-hoc counselling and advocacy services. Soon after an administrator, Julia Golding OAM, was brought on to devise delivery of further home based services, find funding from government bodies and private donors, and coordinate incoming volunteers.

But as this was happening another service was growing which our founders had not foreseen or planned for… Group Social Support!

COA’s volunteer workforce, in the main retired seniors themselves, wanted to get together after returning from their meal deliveries, and would often stay in the office socialising over a coffee. This slowly evolved, as more and more volunteers stayed on after their shifts. Members, such as the unstoppable Bella Cappe, led informal current affairs sessions, another would play piano, and the after deliveries social sessions became longer and longer. Soon it became apparent that lunch was required, and volunteers made sandwiches for the ever growing group who gathered, forming the backbone of our in-house catering team.

By 1985 it was not just volunteers who gathered at COA’s centre of operations in the Jewish Folk Centre. Other retirees in the community had heard of the COA gatherings and were interested in getting a little social connection with their peers. Very soon a formal program of activities was offered at the Folk Centre with speakers, live music, and games.

So within a few short years from inception COA had developed its core services, delivered Kosher meals, help at home, and social connection with peers – the ones we continue to deliver to this day!

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