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Grandparents for Grandchildren has new support group in Murray Bridge
Monica Perrett, who successfully campaigned to change SA law to protect grandparents and others' rights, has started a support group with Grandparents for Grandchildren.
This sponsored post is brought to you by Grandparents for Grandchildren.
Monica Perrett, the woman who helped change SA legislation to recognise the rights of guardians and foster parents, has helped start a support group in Murray Bridge for grandparents and other kinship carers.
The group, known as a village, is supported by Grandparents for Grandchildren, a not-for-profit organisation that assists grandcarers and kinship carers in their valuable role.
The term “village” refers to the saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
CEO of Grandparents for Grandchildren Mike Feszczak explained his organisation’s village concept.
“The villages are facilitated peer-support groups for grandparents and other kinship carers who are the full-time, informal carers of their grandkids or kin,” he said.
“The focus tends to be on grandparents, but we include others too.
“We have villages in 11 locations around South Australia, including the new villages in Murray Bridge and Aldgate.
“The villages provide peer support for all members – for them to open up to seek support, to not feel isolated and to get advice.”
Monica Perrett is the village facilitator at Murray Bridge.
Mrs Perrett and her husband Nathan were instrumental in getting SA legislation changed in 2018 after their three-year-old nephew Finn, whom they were caring for at the time, passed away.
To their shock, the Perretts soon realised they had no rights as carers to be involved in Finn’s funeral arrangements and so on.
“Because I believe that all children have a voice, I was a voice for Finn and for other children who passed away,” Mrs Perrett said.
With help from Murray Bridge MP Adrian Pederick, the Perretts campaigned for 18 months to change the law to protect kinship and foster carers, and the result was new leglislation, known as Finn’s Law.
The Perretts are now grandcarers for their nine-year-old granddaughter Hannah.
Grandparents for Grandchildren has been a wonderful support for the Perretts in regard to raising Hannah, and Mrs Perrett is happy to support the organisation in turn.
“I learnt that 40 or more grandparents look after their grandkids in Murray Bridge,” she said.
“There was a village at Mount Barker, but I kept saying, ‘You need to open up a village in Murray Bridge.’”
Thanks to Mrs Perrett and Grandparents for Grandchildren staff, including operations coordinator Joanne Lauritsen, the Murray Bridge Village is now a reality, with the third meeting to be held in April.
“It’s a safe place for carers to come – to laugh, scream and pour their hearts out,” Mrs Perrett said.
“Grandparents are saying to me, ‘It’s about time there’s something like this in Murray Bridge because the agencies aren’t helping.’”
Mrs Perrett said that the role of grandcarer is rewarding but difficult.
“As blessed as we are, it’s hard work,” she said.
“Every morning when we take Hannah to school, she says, ‘I love you, Nanny.’”
“We have so much love to give, but grandparents need practical help as well – you may need to get a car, the cost of bills increases and so on.”
Mike Feszczak wants to offer Grandparents for Grandchildren’s support to these wonderful people who have taken on such a rewarding but challenging role by inviting them to be involved in a village.
“We’d like to invite grandparents and informal carers – people who have no legal guardianship over their children for a number of reasons.
People wanting to join the Murray Bridge Village can phone Grandparents for Grandchildren on 08 8212 1937 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grandparents for Grandchildren events calendar has details of all their villages across SA.
The Aldgate Village holds meetings from 10am to 12pm on the second Wednesday of every month at The Hutt, Community Centre, 1 Euston Road, Aldgate. For more information, phone 08 8339 4400.
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