After 45 years and raising a mighty $650,000, Naracoorte's Novita auxiliary is closing down.
It’s with heavy hearts that the small auxiliary membership has made the call to fold the fundraising phenomenon after so many years, but with an ageing membership they see no other alternative.
Two of the foundation members, sisters Daphne Burford and Maureen Collins, are still heavily involved after all these years with a core group of about half a dozen devoted members, but it's become too much for them.
Current president Lyn Bowman said despite the auxiliary still being a successful fundraising entity, the members were getting older and had to be realistic.
“We would still like to keep the auxiliary going, but we need some younger ones,” she said. “It’s sort of gone past that point now though, we are happy with what we’ve been able to do and we can close it off being pretty proud of our efforts.”
Novita CEO Greg Ward said it was sad to see the closure of such a valued auxiliary.
“Novita has been extraordinarily blessed to have such long-standing and passionate advocates in our Naracoorte auxiliary,” he said. “We really value the hard work of all its members and their contribution to our organisation, which has helped us support countless kids living with disability to lead independent lives.
“A significant amount of money has been raised as a result of over 40 years of tireless fundraising by the Naracoorte auxiliary. This has enabled Novita to provide and maintain services and equipment for people living with disability right across South Australia.
“Auxiliaries are the absolute backbone of Novita’s community, and we can’t thank the Naracoorte auxiliary enough for their commitment to ensuring all our Novita kids and families get the support they need.
“It would be great to have the auxiliary bring in new community minded volunteers and continue its fantastic work.”
The impending closure has given the long-standing members the chance to reflect on the reasons why they joined up, and what they got out of their years of involvement.
You're coming with me Daphne, we’re joining the Crippled Children’s Association
Lyn said: “I had a brother who used the services of Sorrento Crippled Children’s home in the ’50s and from then I’d always been more aware of disabled people.
“When I was able to join it was with great pleasure that I was able to make a difference and I just kept on with it ever since.”
Daphne’s reasons for joining also involved a sibling, her older sister Maureen, but it happened a little differently.
“Maureen just said, ‘You're coming with me Daphne, we’re joining the Crippled Children’s Association’,” Daphne laughed.
“We joined because it was a good cause and it hadn’t affected us. These disabled kids needed a lot of help and you feel your own kids are healthy and you want to do something for those who are less fortunate.”
Lyn said in the ensuing years the auxiliary became an important part of the members’ lives and was a shared interest that they were happy to keep going.
“It's just something you do," she said. “We were a small group and even in the heyday they were nice women to work with.”
Daphne agreed: “We had fun. You did the business side and then had a cup of tea.”
While they acknowledge there is no option but to close the auxiliary because of their advancing age and a lack of new, young members to keep it going, the members are sad it's coming to an end.
“I feel very sad about it actually, Maureen and I have been there for over 40 years,” Daphne said. “It’s quite sad. It'll be a hole in my life, that's for sure.”
Both women said they would love to hear from any potential new members keen to join up and give the auxiliary a last-minute reprieve. Contact Lyn on 0413 112 871 or Daphne 0438 622 143.