Hills Community Care celebrated 25 years of operation this week with a civic reception at the Council Chambers.
Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne praised the service which began in 1991. HCC is co-ordinated by The Hills Shire Council and run by staff and many volunteers and funded by Federal Government grants. The service provides a range of services to aged, frail and disabled residents.
“This is a real milestone celebration for what is one of the most valuable and effective services offered by The Hills Shire Council and our very dedicated army of volunteers,” Mayor Byrne said.
“As a passionate mental health advocate with a background in medical research, I can’t tell you how proud I am that we can offer an amazing array of services. Hills Community Care, or HCC as we refer to it – makes an enormous difference in the lives of so many people.”
“Staff and volunteers deliver healthy meals, drive people to their doctor’s appointments, take them on day trips and social outings, mow lawns, keep gardens flourishing, clean gutters, carry out home improvements and much, much more.”
Mayor Byrne said that although HCC had been in operation for 25 years, many of the services on offer such as Meals on Wheels had been delivered in The Hills since the early 1970s.
“The establishment of HCC in 1991 was part of a co-ordinated effort by various community groups to unite services like Meals on Wheels and Community Transport under one umbrella. 25 years later in 2016 and more than 2000 members are served by HCC.”
Mayor Byrne said that HCC’s growth was coupled with a renewed focus on service delivery and high quality standards.
“It has been very pleasing to see HCC grow over the years I have been on Council. Ten years ago the annual budget was $2 million – that is now dwarfed by a $7 million budget.”
“However it should be noted that sometimes it isn’t the core function itself that is most valued by the client. For many clients, what they treasure more than the actual meal being delivered is the chat with the volunteer who will drop it off.”
“I know that many of our clients really value the social interaction they may not otherwise get as they are living away from family or friends.”
“While we can measure the quantity of meals delivered, community transport trips completed and social outings initiated, what we can’t measure is the strength of the social interaction our staff and volunteers have with clients. In many ways, they are invaluable.”
Mayor Byrne also thanked HCC Chairman Mike Blair and former Holroyd City Council Mayor and foundation committee member Bob Devlin OAM for their outstanding service.