A granny pulls a child-filled wagon around the yard of St Luke’s Anglican Church in Torquay as two mums, cuppas in hand, enjoy the morning sunshine. She is one of the six volunteer “grannies’ who run Take A Breath; a playgroup with a distinct difference.
Coordinator Rosemary Faris says the group, which operates by word-of-mouth, has run for 11 years and helped some 100 families in that time.
“Most of the families who come to us don’t have an older person in their lives or may have family living overseas,” Rosemary explains.
“People have got very good at letting others who need something like this know about us.”
But it’s also a two-way street, with most of the volunteer grannies having no grandchildren of their own close-by.
“Almost all of our grandchildren are interstate, so it does put us in touch with young children and we love it. It is definitely a win-win.”
The sessions are a relaxed time of free play and organised activities, during which parents can have a break and socialise while the grannies play with children from newborns to pre-schoolers.
Rosemary says the group has a real family feel, recently hosting a 90th birthday celebration for one of the original grannies, Maie. She says the kids enjoyed helping blow out the many candles, while Maie loved the chance to play with the kids again.
“If kids don’t get interaction with older people, they are less likely to be at ease with the elderly,” Rosemary says when asked about the benefits of such a group.
“Here they can see energetic old people who clearly enjoy being with them.”
#thursdaythankyou to the Take A Breath grannies (pictured L to R) Emma Tunley, Barbara Bell, Jean Young, Chris Farrow and Rosemary Faris. Missing granny is Libby Fuller, who often plays piano for the playgroupers.