Your health, our commitment

MOW 1969

Bairnsdale Meals on Wheels celebrates 50 years

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Fifty years ago in March 1968, a sub-committee was formed to launch a meals on wheels service in Bairnsdale. Four months later a small group of dedicated volunteers headed out to make the first delivery of meals on wheels to nine residents.

Fast forward 50 years and the service is coordinated by a major community health agency with volunteers delivering 150 meals per week on average.

What hasn’t changed is the services’ philosophy – to help frail, aged and disabled people live independently at home; and the unwavering dedication of volunteers who generously donate their time to support their communities.

“The first delivery of meals was prepared at the Gippsland Home and Hospital and cost recipients 40c for a hot three course meal,” said Chris Tipa, executive manager of aged and disability services at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH). “Volunteers were rostered five days a week to deliver meals across the Bairnsdale district in special Crusader carriers, purchased with donations from local businesses and community groups.”

“Today around 70 regular volunteers and various community groups – including representatives from the Presbyterian Church who were on the very first roster – deliver chilled meals costing $9.20 prepared by the Food Services Department at the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service.”

Long serving volunteer, Dot Lawrence, who retired in late 2016, remembers when she first started volunteering in 1971. “My motivation for volunteering was quite simple,” said Dot. “I just felt it was a worthwhile program.”

Dot remembers when the meals were prepared at the Geriatric Centre in McKean St and included hot soup that was decanted into the client’s container, a main course and sweets. “The last person on the delivery run often received all the left over soup,” recalled Dot, “And sometimes it was necessary to add water from the garden tap to extend the soup when it was running low!”

“Things were simple back then, you didn’t need a Safe Food Handling certificate or Police Checks – we were just community minded people who wanted to make a difference,” said Dot.

GLCH will host an afternoon tea for past volunteers on Wednesday 27 June to celebrate 50 years of meals on wheels in Bairnsdale. “The [meals on wheels] service is steeped in history and is such an important part of our community so it would be remiss of us not to mark such a significant occasion,” Chris said. “We’re inviting people who have been part of the programs journey to join us and old friends for an afternoon of reminiscing.” RSVP is required by 20 June, contact Janet Taylor on 5155 8300. Click HERE to view Invitation.


NVW 2018

National Volunteer Week: Give a little. Change a lot…

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Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) will celebrate National Volunteer Week (NVW) today by treating their volunteers to lunch in recognition of the outstanding work they do in our local communities.

“National Volunteer Week provides us with an opportunity to celebrate our dedicated volunteers and let them know how much we value their generosity and commitment to our organisation and clients,” said GLCH chief executive, Sue Medson OAM.

This years’ NVW theme represents ‘Give a little. Change a lot’ represents the profound impact volunteers have in their communities and on society, through giving a little of their time. At GLCH you can volunteer as much or as little time as you want, depending on your role. Once a week, once a fortnight, once a month – whatever suits the individual.

“Volunteering is all about making a difference in your community and our volunteers truly do,” explained Ms Medson. “They are an invaluable asset to staff and our clients and make our services stronger.

Last year GLCH’s social support staff, who coordinate social groups and activities were supported by a team of 24 volunteers. Over 12 months they logged a combined 3,200 hours, during which they cooked 11,500 meals and served 320 cappuccinos. Their Meals on Wheels volunteers delivered just shy of 13,000 meals to residents of Bairnsdale, Paynesville, Lakes Entrance and surrounding towns; and their volunteer drivers escorted 109 clients to non-urgent medical appointments.

Volunteering benefits you personally as it offers the chance to act on your values, passions and interests and make new friendships and create professional networks. Volunteers also enjoy better physical and mental health as studies show volunteering makes us healthier and happier. GLCH have a number of different volunteering opportunities available from their five locations in East Gippsland.  To find out more about these opportunities, head to or contact the volunteer coordinator.

NVW 2018

Pictured before their meals on wheels delivery runs are dedicated volunteers Doris and Bryan Garrett, Heather Rose, Marg Porter and Margie Kavanagh with GLCH CEO Sue Medson (far right).

Rainbow Ball [2018]

Rainbow Ball THIS FRIDAY!

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Funding from the Hey Project and the Victorian Government has enabled a group of enthusiastic young people to plan and host the Rainbow Ball – the first ‘inclusive formal’ in East Gippsland for LGBTIQ+ young people and their allies.

Under the guidance of staff from Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH), this project has given the young workgroup the opportunity to tackle event planning and management on a small scale and pull together a special night of celebration for their peers.

“We’ve invited LGBTIQ+ young people, aged 12 to 25 from across East Gippsland and the Wellington Shire to meet new people and dance the night away in a safe and supportive environment,” said Warren Adair, Reconnect support worker from GLCH. “The evening also includes a sit down two course meal and exciting performances by local youth DJ’s Hongding and Riley Walsh.”

In addition to the awesome food and entertainment, the workgroup has organised a Rainbow Lolly Bar, Photobooth and Body Artist.

The Rainbow Ball will be held this Friday night in Bairnsdale and is strictly a drug and alcohol free event. As the theme of the event is ‘inclusion’, young people are encouraged to invite a friend or ‘ally’ so they feel supported during the evening.

Rainbow Ball [2018]

Raibow Tick (for web)

We’re going for Rainbow Tick!

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Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) is excited to announce they are working towards Rainbow Tick accreditation over the next two years.

CEO Sue Medson OAM says “We acknowledge that we have just begun our journey towards the Rainbow Tick and we still have a lot of work to do, but it’s a very important goal and one we are committed to achieving.”

GLCH currently provide two LGBTI specific programs – a counselling service and the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) project in partnership with headspace and local schools.  They are also implementing the Australian Government National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Strategy and are making changes to their work practices to respond to the needs of older LGBTI people and deliver care that is sensitive and appropriate.

The Rainbow Tick is awarded to organisations that demonstrate inclusive practice and service delivery for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

The Rainbow Tick consists of six standards against which services can be formally accredited.  The six standards, or areas of focus, are: organisational capability; workforce development; consumer participation; a welcoming and accessible organisation; disclosure and documentation; and culturally safe and acceptable services.

“We have a work group of dedicated staff for the Rainbow Tick project”’ Sue Medson says. “But we also need input from our LGBTI community.”

GLCH are putting a call out to the LGBTI community for input and advice, in whatever format suits the individual.  Involvement and feedback could be in a variety of ways, from phone conversations or emails, to small group sessions or one-on-one.  Consultation with the LGBTI community will be key in improving service delivery and we encourage anyone who would like to be involved to let us know – phone Marnie Graham.

Raibow Tick (for web)

Pictured: members of Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s LGBTI workgroup Chris Tipa, Marnie Graham, Sue Medson, Helen Taylor and Paul Patten.


We’ve got health & wellness services for seniors

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Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) is a leading not-for-profit provider of health and wellness services in East Gippsland, providing more than 2,000 older people, their families and carers with quality in-home and community based services.

“GLCH has been delivering quality health and wellbeing services for over 42 years and we provide a suite of services for seniors that are designed to enable a happy, healthy lifestyle at home and in the community,” said Sue Medson OAM, chief executive officer at GLCH.

A major provider of Home Care Packages, GLCH provides flexible packages of in-home care and support services to people who need assistance to stay living at home. Chris Tipa, executive manager of aged and disability services, says his team have noticed that people who have received a letter from the Australian Government about home care packages have been delaying in choosing a services provider.  “It is important that people contact our home care package team or another service provider to secure services before My Aged Care reassign their offer to someone else,” Mr Tipa explained.  “Our team are available to guide people through the new My Aged Care process and highlight the types of services we offer including domestic assistance, nursing, personal care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and assistance with meal preparation, transport, shopping and social outings.”

Staying socially connected on a regular basis is vital for the wellbeing of our ageing community members.  GLCH offers a variety low cost social groups and activities each week that provide physical, intellectual, emotional, social stimulation to participants and respite and support for carers. New groups, like Monday on the Move and Blokes BBQ are taking seniors out to explore and reacquaint themselves with our beautiful local area. “Participants are having a great time out and about – visiting local landmarks, barbequing or sampling afternoon tea at cafes; and have even featured on our Facebook page,” Ms Medson said.

Medical and services covering a range of health conditions and care needs are available from GLCH’s Lakes Entrance, Metung, Bruthen and Nowa Nowa sites; and in the home. Dementia nurse practitioner, Amanda Crombie provides a specialist nursing service that helps East Gippsland GP’s and their patients with dementia diagnoses and links them to locals resources if required. “Not all changes in memory and thinking are signs of dementia,” explained Ms Crombie. “However, if you’re worried about yourself or someone close to you, we offer a free in-home assessment to explore changes and address any issues.” 

A comprehensive suite of allied health services and therapies are also available to help seniors maximise independence and remain active and healthy. GLCH offers flexible services including physiotherapy, podiatry, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, personal trainers and a range of fitness groups that aim to improve mobility, manage chronic illness and pain and improve fitness. 

“The professional team at Gippsland Lakes Community Health are available to support people as they age to remain happy, healthy and valued,” Ms Medson said.  “We’re ready to assist people with their enquiries regarding our services for seniors, call us today or visit for further details.”



We’d like your opinion on a LGBTI resource…

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DHHS LGBTI inclusive practice for community health: pilot project.  Gippsland Lakes Community Health is participating in a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) LGBTI Inclusive Practice pilot project for community health services.
The project will develop, pilot and evaluate a suite of tools and resources that support LGBTI inclusive and responsive service planning and practice in community health services.
These tools and resources will then be rolled out to all community health centres across the state of Victoria.
We are seeking your assistance, as clients, consumer groups, partners and stakeholders, in evaluating the tools and resources and providing feedback.
We would welcome your review and feedback on the Client Brochure – click HERE to view AND a series of Posters – click HERE to view.
Responses can be provided by:
• Online survey
• Email
• Phone and speak to Marnie Graham on 5155 8358
Lets Dance

Seniors invited to dance up a storm!

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The Social Support team at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) along with Opal Residential Care Facility, ACSA Group Residential Care Lakes Entrance and Bupa Residential Care in Bairnsdale are connecting communities with an ‘Old Time Dance’ at the Johnsonville Hall next Wednesday 21 February from 11am.

“Regular physical activity is key for senior health and dancing is a fantastic way to improve balance, strength and mobility,” said Gill Wheeler, Social Support Coordinator at GLCH.  Dancing also fosters social interaction and enjoyment, which in-turn gives people that feeling of community.”

Reminiscing is also an important socialisation tool. “For some people, an old time dance provokes memories or their courting years – as often, that’s where they met their spouses,” Gill explained. “Sharing life’s special events with others, gives older people a chance to celebrate who they are and what they’ve accomplished.”

“We’re extending an invitation to East Gippsland seniors to dust of their dancing shoes and join us next Wednesday for some good old-fashioned fun!” Gill added. “If dancing’s not your thing, that’s okay – we’ve got a fantastic live band and the Johnsonville Dancers for your entertainment and we’ll be serving up a delicious brunch.”

Contact Gill or Kerry at GLCH on 5155 8300 for further details.  Transport is available from Lakes Entrance but its limited so be quick.


Photo and caption: Neil Wolffenbuttel, Peter Lazzarini  and  June Carter are getting ready to kick up their heels at next Wednesday’s old time dance at Johnsonville Hall.

Oz Day Award 2

Meals on Wheels volunteers acknowledged at local Australia Day Award ceremony

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WE VALUE OUR VOLUNTEERS and so do our local Rotarians! Congratulations to our incredible Meals on Wheels (MOW) volunteers, who were officially acknowledged at last Friday’s Australia Day Award Ceremony in Bairnsdale, taking out the Community Event Award.

Pictured below is Janet Taylor, our volunteer coordinator receiving the award on the behalf of our volunteers – past and present.  Janet essentially makes things happen (recruiting volunteers, organising rosters etc. etc.) – she is accompanied by executive manager of aged and disability services, Chris Tipa in photo insert.

As the intended recipients of the award – our volunteers include individuals, community groups and local businesses who generously donate their time to deliver 12,500+ meals over 365 days a year to community members in need. Outstanding work team!

At GLCH we’re always on the look out for more volunteers to assist with MOW deliveries in Bairnsdale, Paynesville and Lakes Entrance. You can volunteer as much or as little time as you want.. Once a week, once a fortnight, once a month, once a year – whatever suits you.

Give Janet a call on 5155 8300 if you’re interested.

Oz Day Award 2

Hands close-up of friends joined together. The concept of friendship. Group of 5 young happy people

NEW social opportunity for people aged 18 – 45 with a disability…

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We’re planning an exciting new social group for people aged 18 – 45 who have a disability

Would you or someone you know be interested in joining us?

The group plans to meet once a week in Bairnsdale and take part in a range of activities based on your interest.

Limited places available 

Contact Margie Budge on 5155 8351 or email to express your interest today.