Calendar showcases Byron respite-service art group

Byron Shire Respite Service is launching a Calendar for 2015 EJ 9W6A7755

Byron Shire Respite Service manager Colin Monroe, left, care manager Barbara Chambers, right, and art-group members Dot Jumeau and Vince Collins show off the colourful 2015 calendars produced by the group. Photo Eve Jeffery

Members of Byron Shire Respite Service’s client art group are using their creative talents while raising funds for the service at the same time.

The members of the group have just produced a colourful 2015 calendar with an original artwork for each month, which was launched this week as part of Dementia Awareness month.

Care manager Barbara Chambers said the service ran continual art activities as part of its day program at Brunswick Heads.

‘The calendar represents people living with dementia and their often unrecognised creativity and talent,’ Ms Chambers told Echonetdaily.

‘Fundraising has always been a part of our business,’ she said.

‘However, with the upcoming changes to government funding for the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) this will cease on 30 June 2015.’

The NRCP program currently delivers much-needed respite to around 120 carers across three shires at any given time.

‘In 2013-14, the program helped 250 carers, this funding represents around half of Byron Shire Respite’s total funding, therefore fundraising has become a necessary part of our service viability strategy,’ Ms Chambers said.

‘We are honouring the capacity to create in people with dementia.

‘We believe they need to be valued, not just for what they have contributed in the past, but as they are right now.

‘Watching a person with dementia painting or writing is to be filled with awe, for regardless of memory loss, the person is expressing and revealing their unique identity,’ she said.

One of the artists summed it all up when she told Echonetdaily photographer: ‘If you lose yourself, this is the place to find yourself’.

To buy a calendar, priced at $15, call Byron Shire Respite on 6685 1619 or 6685 1921 or visit Brunswick Valley Community Centre.



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