News & Events

From the CEO

June 9, 2019

I have been considering the definition of community over the past weeks after a recent visit from Korean journalists to Rushall Park.

The four journalists were overwhelmed by the extraordinary vision of our founder George Coppin and others to provide homes and financial assistance for ‘poor and distressed old colonists.’  That the association was set up 150 years ago also astonished them, let alone the involvement of residents in activities, volunteering inside and outside the village, and much more. As the interpreter told us: this is a remarkable story, you have a lovely community here.

Their insights led me to think about what community means to me. Security and the connections I make in and around my own home come to my mind. Visits to the Footscray Market where I chat with the stall holders I know and who know me, who know my preferences for fruit and vegetables and love of congee. I love the fact that people know my name and vice versa. It makes me feel special and connected, however fleeting and in what form.

As we head into our 150thanniversary, that sense of community is shining. For the past two years, residents have been working organising special village events to be held in October and November. Friendships have been strengthened, frustrations have been shared, and a sense of belonging and community created.

That same sense of community was at the fore at recent Volunteers Week celebrations where we stopped to say thank our 190 volunteers who do so much forother residents, driving them to appointments, picking up shopping, and generally make life easier for their neighbours who may need a little bit of support.

But the OCAV community spirit does not stop there. Our residents are deeply involved in many social justice causes, from climate change through to asylum seekers, or closer to home the rising incidence of homelessness.

On August 5 in the morning, we are marking Homelessness Week and the vision of our founders with a symbolic event at Parliament House. Every resident has written a word on a wooden block about what home means to them. Each block will be placed on Parliament House steps, as a reminder of the importance of home, and to showcase the extraordinary vision of our founders in establishing homes and a community.

We would love to see as many of you at Parliament House steps. Times will be posted on our facebook page in the middle of July.

This year our annual tax appeal is to raise funds for a children’s garden at Liscombe House. We have noticed over the past year that more children are visiting their grandparents and have nowhere to play with them. The only place for children to play when they visit Liscombe House is their grandparent’s room. We want to turn a small courtyard area into a children’s garden with some plants and toys, and perhaps a sandpit and water play feature.
At present, not many residents use the courtyard – it’s a little bare and no one sees the point in going out there only to be by themselves. We believe that if it was renovated and in more frequent use, others would go out too – they would welcome the company as well as the fresh surroundings. I do hope you can help create a new community space at Liscombe House.

Enjoy this month’s newsletter. As you will read, the sense of community shines brightly – even in the chill of winter.

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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