Through money, companionship and, yes, tea and scones, the Country Women’s Association intends to keep on providing support to drought-affected families.
The Murray group of the NSW CWA heard more about these efforts during its annual conference in the Trinity Uniting Church hall, North Albury, on Tuesday.
Group president Genevieve Knobel, a Gerogery branch member, said so many drought assistance applications had been received, the Sydney head office had to employ another staff member to deal with them.
“We’ve given over $1 million at this point in time helping over 300 families in their household expenses,” she said, adding much of this money was raised through barbecues, coffee mornings and street stalls.
Guest speaker Beryl Brain, a past state vice-president, said applying to the CWA was straightforward.
“It’s just one form to get household support, it’s not like a lot of the other forms and people don’t feel intimidated by it,” she said.
Mrs Brain, herself a farmer from near Narrandera, said as well as financial assistance, the CWA offered social and emotional support within individual communities.
“We’re on the ground and that’s how we can help,” she said.
“It’s not something that a lot of country people are willing to do, to share their problems, but I think CWA is something where you can come along and you’ve got people with like mind and like problems that you can share together.
“It’s just getting together and, you know, that phone call, ‘Are you OK? Come over for a cup of tea’.
“We’re known for tea and scones but what a great way to start a conversation.”
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A former TAFE teacher, Mrs Brain spoke at the conference about her passion for education.
“I think from the moment you set foot in a CWA branch, you’re learning,” she said.
“Just belonging to a branch and connecting with other people is all part of education.”
The Murray group’s newest branch, Albury Evening, volunteered to host Tuesday’s conference for the first time, providing refreshments and lunch for up to 55 guests.
“I thought it would be something for the girls to see how the group works,” publicity officer Lyn Buck said.
The branch, now in its third year, had 18 members, most of whom would not usually be able to attend daytime meetings because of paid work.
Murray group annual trophy winners: Greatest increase in membership – Oaklands; best average attendance – Gerogery; most active branch in international work – Little Billabong; best international report – Holbrook; most active branch – Oaklands; floral arrangement – Gerogery.
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