Help is at hand for grandparents raising grandchildren in WA's rural areas.
Instead of feeling stranded and alone, a new agreement will make it easier for grandparents to find support and assistance through their local branch of the Country Women's Association of WA.
This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the CWA and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren WA. The agreement seeks to connect and link "grandcarers" who require local community support with CWA branches and/or members.
Grandparents group vice-president Dianne Franklyn described the partnership as "a match made in heaven".
"We are both aligned to family and caring in the community so we couldn't have a better pairing," she said.
"The idea began 18 months ago when we were contacted by someone in the middle of nowhere with sudden responsibility for their grandchildren and we had no way of helping them.
"But I knew there was a CWA within cooee of them and had a lightbulb moment. Coming from a rural background myself, in similar circumstances I had turned to the CWA for help. These wonderful women had opened the op shop for me and said help yourself."
Dianne's idea led to the new partnership. "We have been working tirelessly all year going around to CWA branches and so many have come on board," she said.
The group is formulating a plan to put together emergency packages with contact numbers, information on services and petrol vouchers.
"In one fell swoop, through the CWAs, we have expanded our reach enormously," Dianne said. "The CWA always knows everyone in town and what is going on and who can help who."
Grandparents group membership has more than doubled over the past 18 months.
"There are 10,000 grandcarer families in WA alone," Dianne said. "These are the ones in touch with government services. In reality, there would be close to triple that."
The memorandum signing took place at the CWA annual conference, where life membership was presented to Heather Allen (Champion Bay branch) and Gloria Campbell (Wanneroo branch).
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